Despite the rapidly spreading popularity of troubadour poetry throughout Western Europe (to northern France, Italy, Spain, Germany), only in Occitania do we find significant numbers of women poets participating in the tradition alongside their male counterparts-about twenty known by name, with another seventeen mentioned by other medieval writers but whose compositions have evidently been lost.1 Of all the trobairitz, it is Na Castelloza who most closely aligns herself with the"self-consciousness of the early troubadours and the self-effacing humility of the troubadour lover in general."2 she situates her female speaker in the same rhetorical position occupied by the male speaker of the troubadour canso and fully participates in the conventions of the canso genre. One of these generic conventions is the use of feudal metaphors to describe the relationship between speaker and beloved. After a brief discussion of how these feudal metaphors function in the canso as symbolic social capital, I will examine several of the scholarly interpretations of Castelloza's cansos to determine how our own normative expectations of medieval feminine experience have shaped and nuanced our perception of these poems. I shall argue that historicizing the position of Castelloza's speaker with greater precision suggests new ways of perceiving and interpreting women in the Middle Ages.


Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | History | Medieval History | Women's History | Women's Studies