“The Whispering of Generations Past”: Kate Mosse’s Languedoc Trilogy

Armitt, Lucie (2014) “The Whispering of Generations Past”: Kate Mosse’s Languedoc Trilogy. Contemporary Women's Writing, 8 (2). pp. 154-170. ISSN 1754-1484

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/cww/vpu014

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In her fiction Kate Mosse, author of six novels and co-founder and Honorary Director of the Orange Prize for Fiction (now The Bailey's Prize), frequently focuses upon the theme of bodily violence enacted upon women. Her protagonists, often young early career scholars of the twenty-first century find themselves in contact with ghostly sister selves belonging to the Cathar communities of Medieval France. The egalitarian and progressive politics of these historic communities preached equality of the sexes in the sight of God and believed in the central role of women priests in the spreading of a Christian faith based on love and tolerance. Oppressed by the Orthodox Christian church, whose most conservative factions still refer to the Cathars as the great heresy, Mosse pays witness to the violent retribution enacted upon its followers, whose communities eventually died out as a result. In Mosse's Languedoc Trilogy, Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007) and Citadel (2012), young female travellers embark on quests of discovery that take them unwittingly into contact with the voices of these dead communities. In the process, this article argues that Mosse offers up a metaphor for the importance of maintaining an active dialogue between the voices of different generations of feminism. Despite being sometimes dismissed as popular rather than serious, this argument makes a claim for the political importance of Mosse's writing in bringing back to contemporary awareness the stories of the lost Cathar communities and the shaping effect of their stories upon nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century sisterhood. © 2014 The Author.

Additional Information:SPECIAL ISSUE: THE BODY
Keywords:oaopen, Literature, Feminism, NotOAChecked
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
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ID Code:14713
Deposited On:19 Aug 2014 11:59

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