ABSTRACT

Based on the premise that world literature from antiquity to the present often reflects the social realities and constructions of the cultures in which it has been produced, this chapter is designed to show how the effective functioning of gender is mirrored in Byzantine literature and how gendered emotions served as literary devices determining style, narrative structure, and characterisation. The analysis undertaken – on version G of the famous epic-romance Digenes Akrites (c. 1135), a work in which gendered emotions are central – is structured around two sets of interconnected binaries mirroring essential features of the heroes’ and heroines’ gender identities and interrelationships: female romantic love and male sexual desire and female fear and male bravery.