Marie de france

Thoroughly modern Marie: Matrix, by Lauren Groff, reviewed

It is 1158. A 17-year-old girl, born of both rape and royal blood, is cast out of the French court and condemned to spend her days in a threadbare abbey in England. She will go on to become abbess and one of the dominant forces in the land, transforming her abbey from a shack into an institution grown fat on holy power. The girl is Marie de France, loosely based on the 12th-century poet, about whom very little is known. Into history’s silence steps the American novelist Lauren Groff, who imagines a character who seems remarkably familiar. For Marie is a strong, feminist lesbian, who doesn’t fit into her era’s