Marisa Galvez specializes in the literature of the Middle Ages in France and Western Europe, especially the poetry and narrative literature written in Occitan and Old French. Her areas of interest include the troubadours, vernacular poetics, the intersection of performance and literary cultures, and the critical history of medieval studies as a discipline. At Stanford, she currently teaches courses on medieval and Renaissance French literature and love lyric, as well as interdisciplinary upper level courses on the medieval imaginary in modern literature, film, and art.
Her recent book, Songbook: How Lyrics Became Poetry in Medieval Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2012), treats what poetry was before the emergence of the modern category, “poetry”: that is, how vernacular songbooks of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries shaped our modern understanding of poetry by establishing expectations of what is a poem, what is a poet, and what is lyric poetry itself. The first comparative study of songbooks, the book concerns three vernacular traditions—Occitan, Middle High German, and Castilian—and analyzes how the songbook emerged from its original performance context of oral publication, into a medium for preservation, and finally became a literary object that performs the interests of poets and readers. Her current research project, tentatively entitled "The Subject of Crusade: Penitential Poetics in Vernacular Lyric and Romance" examines how the crusader subject of vernacular literature sought to reconcile secular ideals about love and chivalry with crusade. This study places this literature in dialogue with new ideas about penance and confession that emerged from the second half of the twelfth century to the end of the thirteenth.
Forthcoming publications include "The Voice of the Unrepentant Crusader: 'Aler m'estuet' by the Châtelain d'Arras" (Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe, ed. Irit Kleinman, Palgrave) that analyzes how a crusaders poet's unrepentant voice can be viewed as in tension with the confessional voice of pastoral literature, and "The Intersubjective Performance of Confession vs. Courtly Profession" (Performance and Theatricality in the MIddle Ages and Renaissance, ed. Markus Cruse, ACMRS) that compares penitential performativity and witnessing in courtly lyric and moral tales.
Her multi-year Performing Trobar project seeks to cultivate, historicize, and compare the experience of troubadour lyrics in literary and performative modes. In exposing students and the Stanford community to the rich aural and verbal texture of the medieval world, Performing Trobar seeks to animate our engagement with medieval lyric both as a philological artifact and as a vernacular art that continues to be translated before various audiences around the world. She also currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Discussion Group on Provençal Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association and acts as Faculty Coordinator of the Theoretical Perspectives of the Middle Ages workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center.
Troubadours Art Ensemble: Stanford Visit from Stanford Arts Institute on Vimeo.