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Vidal in Furs: Lyric Poetry, Narrative, and Masoch(ism)

Vidal in Furs: Lyric Poetry, Narrative, and Masoch(ism) ASOCHISM IS DIFFICULT to understand. How is it possible for a subject to enjoy pain, to take pleasure in what is, by definition, the opposite of pleasure? How can the subject come to such a position? Since Freud, psychoanalysts have been virtually obsessed with this difficulty: the Freudian pleasure principle set them on this course, as can be seen from the fact that it was nearly named the unpleasure principle. Similarly difficult to grasp are the songs and biographies (vida and razos) of the troubadour Peire Vidal,1 in which he variously appears as castaway; delusional self-proclaimed emperor, womanizer, and knight; thief of kisses (a rapist, perhaps?); and loyal lover who bears the arms of 1 Little is known of Peire Vidal’s life beyond the few facts that can be gleaned from the medieval biographies and from his songs themselves, which were probably also the sole source for his biographer. As Joseph Anglade notes in the introduction to his 1913 edition of Peire’s songs, Peire’s life can be divided into three major periods: the first lasting until his quarrel with Barral de Baux, viscount of Marseille, and subsequent banishment in 1187; the second until the death of Barral in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Vidal in Furs: Lyric Poetry, Narrative, and Masoch(ism)

Comparative Literature , Volume 58 (2) – Jan 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-58-2-95
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ASOCHISM IS DIFFICULT to understand. How is it possible for a subject to enjoy pain, to take pleasure in what is, by definition, the opposite of pleasure? How can the subject come to such a position? Since Freud, psychoanalysts have been virtually obsessed with this difficulty: the Freudian pleasure principle set them on this course, as can be seen from the fact that it was nearly named the unpleasure principle. Similarly difficult to grasp are the songs and biographies (vida and razos) of the troubadour Peire Vidal,1 in which he variously appears as castaway; delusional self-proclaimed emperor, womanizer, and knight; thief of kisses (a rapist, perhaps?); and loyal lover who bears the arms of 1 Little is known of Peire Vidal’s life beyond the few facts that can be gleaned from the medieval biographies and from his songs themselves, which were probably also the sole source for his biographer. As Joseph Anglade notes in the introduction to his 1913 edition of Peire’s songs, Peire’s life can be divided into three major periods: the first lasting until his quarrel with Barral de Baux, viscount of Marseille, and subsequent banishment in 1187; the second until the death of Barral in

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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