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Florence Bouchet
Danièle James-Raoul

Normes, histoire et anthropologie

Relative Roles in Medieval Incest Stories: Fathers and Daughters

Elizabeth Archibald

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Extrait du texte

The English Romantic poet Shelley remarked in a letter to a friend that « incest is like many other incorrect things a very poetical circumstance »1. Just as incest taboos in some form are found in every society, and always have been, stories about incest are found throughout the world and throughout the centuries in a range of literature including in myths, legends, folktales, ballads, epic, romance, hagiography, and chronicles2. Sometimes they are cosmologies in which the incestuous partners are gods or the first humans; sometimes the threat of incest motivates the travels of the protagonist; sometimes incestuous birth marks an important hero, king or saint: well-known examples include Gregorius, Siegfried and the Irish hero Cuchulain3 ; sometimes incest is part of a series of disasters afflicting a family or dynasty – the most famous example is Oedipus, of course. But there were also fashions in incest narratives, it seems: certain types of plot are found in classical literature ...


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