A “Game of Words”: Why were “Insult tensos” Performed in Occitan Courts?
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- Fèvre, M. Neophilologus (2010) 94: 209. doi:10.1007/s11061-009-9152-1
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What was the purpose of insulting, aggressive exchanges between nobles and joglars/troubadours in the Occitan courts? Why should nobles have allowed themselves to be reviled by their social inferiors and then appear to demean themselves by answering their opponent? There are many early examples of personal public attacks in theatrical conditions, dating at least from Greek times. Several possible reasons are suggested in regard to these Occitan tensos and four works are examined in order to elucidate the problem. Some study has been made of the social and economic status of the nobles and how they may have been viewed by their contemporaries at the time these tensos were performed to determine whether there was a political or social purpose to these exchanges.