Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: “She had snatched their trophy”: “Lanval,” “Beowulf,” and the Weaver-cum-Warrior


A- A+
Alt. Display


“She had snatched their trophy”: “Lanval,” “Beowulf,” and the Weaver-cum-Warrior


Margaret McFarlane

Pacific University, US
X close


How was masculinity defined, and for whom, in medieval English epic? Employing Marie de France’s “Lanval” and the anonymous “Beowulf ” as example cases, when examining the social role of gender rather than focus on sexuality as defined by genitalia, these poems flip the script. Wherein titular male-identifying characters swap social responsibilities with female-identifying foils; Beowulf and Lanval become “weaving” humans, while Lanval's lover and Grendel’s Mother take on the “weaponed” roles in order to protect the material existence of their communities. By examining these exchanges, as well as characters that embody the gender role that is expected of them, I argue that early medieval English epic consistently presented a vision of society where a critical part of maintaining healthy communities necessitated the inversion of gender roles.

Faculty Sponsor: Elizabeth E. Tavares

How to Cite: McFarlane, M., 2019. “She had snatched their trophy”: “Lanval,” “Beowulf,” and the Weaver-cum-Warrior. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 11(3), p.4. DOI:
Published on 25 Jul 2019.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)