Love Conventional/Love Singular: Desire in Middle English Lyric
This study examines romantic love or desire as it appears in several later Middle English lyrics, arguing that desire is expressed in the lyrics though language that creates a powerful sense of embodied subjectivity. The highly conventional nature of the lyrics creates in many instances an “abstract” desire that, while purportedly focusing in minute detail on the body of the beloved, actually effaces the physical presence of both the lyric’s love object and its speaking subject. In some lyrics, however, love or desire as a felt sensation is expressed through the body of the lyric’s textual subject in remarkably individuated ways. Moore argues that select poems create for lyric experiencers an intimately tangible sense of their individualized textual subjects, even through conventional language.