"A volume of the first importance to the scholarship of medieval women writers.... An ambitious attempt to understand hat ‘gender’ and ‘text’ might have meant in the Middle Ages from the perspective of the woman writer and reader rather than through the more usual androcentric lens...[The] collection brings together for the first time in one place essays about a whole range of women writers from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries and from places as distant as Spain and Sweden, as well as the more well-known French and English writers."--Laurie Finke, Kenyon College
"Brings together, under three main categories, diverse methodologies from...some of the foremost scholars and interpreters of each type of material and approach."--Nadia Margolis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
The women who spoke or wrote in the margins of the Middle Ages--women who were oppressed and diminished by social and religious institutions--often were not literate. Or, if they could read, they did not know how to write. Transforming or subverting Western and patristic traditions associated with the clergy, they also turned to Eastern and North African traditions and to popular oral theater, and focused in their choice of genre on lyric, romance, and confessional autobiography. These essays analyze their texts and reconstruct a medieval feminine aesthetic that begins a rewriting of cultural and literary history.
Jane Chance is professor of English at Rice University. She has written or edited 13 books on Old and Middle English literature, mythology, medieval women, and modern medievalism, including Medieval Mythography: From Roman North Africa to the School of Chartres, A.D. 433-1177 (UPF, 1994), Woman as Hero in Old English Literature, the Mythographic Art: Classical Fable and the Rise of the Vernacular in Early France and England (UPF 1990), and Christine de Pizan, The Letter of Othea to Hector, Translated, with Introduction and Interpretive Essay. She is the editor of the Focus Library of Medieval Women.
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"This volume is a valuable addition to the critical canon, not only for its insights into 'women's writing,' but also for its highly capable and insightful readings of some too-long neglected texts." Arthuriana
"Altogether this book presents a challenging and often persuasive demonstration of the significance of gender in a range of late medieval women's writing." Notes & Queries
"This handsome, densely-packed volume is enlightening, stimulating, provocative, and challenging, forcing readers to consider early religious writers in new, even radical, terms and from eclectic perspectives." Christianity and Literature