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In this important but controversial work, Bloch argues that the idealization and glorification of women in the Western discourse of courtly love neither empowered women nor indicated enhanced social status. Instead, courtly love literature was misogyny in disguise, reducing women to a category as unrealistic as the sinful seductress in anti-feminine writings. Using a wide variety of literary sources--such as Genesis, writings of the Church Fathers, the Ancren Riwle, Arthurian fables, and French fabilaux--Bloch traces misogynist attitudes about women from early Christian times through the middles ages in this impressive study.
The subject matter in itself might be interesting, but the heavy pencil underlining and marginal notes on almost every page destroy my ability to read it easily and desire to wade through someone elses notes.