Performing Virginity and Testing Chastity in the Middle Ages

Performing Virginity and Testing Chastity in the Middle Ages

Paperback Routledge Research in Medieval Studies

By (author) Kathleen Coyne Kelly

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  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 236mm x 15mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 15 August 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415758246
  • ISBN 13: 9780415758246

Product description

This book challenges the belief that female virginity can be reliably and unambiguously defined, tested and verified. Kelly analyses a variety of medieval Western European texts - including medical treatises and their Classical antecedents - and historical and legal documents. The main focus is the representation of both male and female virgins in saints' legends and romances. The author also makes a comparative study of examples from contemporary fiction, television and film in which testing virginity is a theme. Performing Virginity and Testing Chastity in the Middle Ages presents a compelling and provocative study of the parodox of bodily and spiritual integrity as both presence and absence.

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Table of contents

Introduction. Castitas/Virginitas 1. Hymenologies: the multiple signs of virginity 2. 'Armour of Proof': the virgin and the Church in hagiography 3. 'Love's Traces': the lady and test in romance 4. Oxymoronic bodies: male virgins in hagiography and romance 5. Multiple virgins and contemporary virginities