Department of French and Romance Philology  







Eliza Zingesser



Assistant Professor

Medieval French and Occitan Literature and Culture

Eliza Zingesser is a specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature. She studied at Smith College (A.B. summa cum laude) and at Princeton University (Ph.D. 2012). She was formerly a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2012-2013) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa (2013-2014). Her main focus within medieval French and Occitan literature is on issues of assimilation, multilingualism, cultural and linguistic contact, and gender and sexuality. She is currently writing two books. The first, French Troubadours: Assimilating Occitan Poetry in Medieval France, explores the reception of Occitan lyric poetry in France in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, that is, in the period corresponding to the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229) and its aftermath, which witnessed France’s annexation of the majority of Occitania. French Troubadours shows how Occitan poems—from the very beginning of their French reception—were subtly incorporated into the French canon by way of imitation, compilation with French texts, and adaptation to the French sound system. By extension, it shows how the linguistic and cultural specificity of troubadour lyric was suppressed in its early French transmission. The second book, Borderlands: Intercultural Encounters in the Medieval French Pastourelle, explores how pastoral literature, which generally pivots on a rape scenario, became a privileged vehicle for the exploration of cross-cultural tension by francophone medieval writers, including anonymous poets, Jean Bodel, and Jean Froissart. The book turns to four territories peripheral to medieval francophone space—Occitania, the Basque country, Flanders and England.

Eliza Zingesser was a member of the Executive Committee of the MLA Discussion Group for Provençal Language and Literature (2010-2015). She has received grants and awards from the Medieval Academy of America, the Fulbright Foundation, the Institut Français d’Amérique, the Josephine de Kármán Fellowship Trust, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Selected Publications:

“The Poets of the North.” In Musical Culture in the World of Adam de la Halle, ed. Jennifer Saltzstein. Leiden: Brill. Under contract.

“French Troubadours: Assimilating Occitan Poetry in Medieval France (1200-1400).” In Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France, ed. Dirk Schoenaers and Nicola Morato. Turnhout: Brepols. In press.

“Remembering to Forget Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour in Italy: The Case of Pierpont Morgan MS 459.” Forthcoming in French Studies 69.4 (2015)

“The Vernacular Panther: Encyclopedism, Citation, and French Authority in Nicole de Margival’s Dit de la panthère.” Modern Philology109:3 (2012): 301-311

“The Genesis of Poetry: Machaut’s Prologue, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and Chartrian Neoplatonism.” Viator 42:2 (2011): 143-156

“The Value of Verse: Storytelling as Accounting in Froissart’s Dit du florin.” Modern Language Notes 125:4 (2010): 861-872

“Rabelais et Ésope en images.” Études Rabelaisiennes 50 (2010): 23-42

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