CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

The Erotics of Backgammon in Provençal and Irish Poetry

Department

Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Publication Date

1992

Publication Title

Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium

ISSN

1545-0155

Volume

12

First Page

29

Last Page

42

Abstract

In medieval Provençal, and later English and Irish, literature we find references to tables, a game played on a table consisting of two boards usually hinged together, with men whose moves are determined by the throw of dice, and akin to modern backgammon. These often contain sexual innuendos or double entendres, dating as early as a twelfth-century poem by Guillem IX, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitou, "first" troubadour and Eleanor's grandfather, who includes in the final three strophes of his Provençal canso, "Benvuelh que sapchon li pluzor" ("I would well like it that many knew this"), an erotic wordplay on tables:1...

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4966-1251

Peer Reviewed

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