Women and Literature in Britain, 1150-1500

Women and Literature in Britain, 1150-1500

Edited by Carol M. Meale , Series edited by Alastair J. Minnis , Series edited by Patrick Boyde , Series edited by John Burrow , Series edited by Rita Copeland , Series edited by Alan Deyermond , Series edited by Peter Dronke , Series edited by Nigel Palmer , Series edited by Winthrop Wetherbee


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This collection of essays focuses on the questions of women's access to a written culture in medieval Britain and their representation within it. It explores women's engagement with Anglo-Norman, English and Welsh as well as Latin, and addresses issues including orality and literacy and women's exclusion from a written tradition. It considers the question of the levels of literacy attained by women, and contemporary attitudes to their acquisition of such skills, as well as the historical evidence for women's activity as writers, patrons and readers. It also examines the representation of women within different literary genres, both secular and religious - their possession or lack of power, and their roles as lovers, mothers and saints. This is the first such volume to focus on these issues within the specific framework of late medieval Britain, and as such constitutes a unique contribution to the study of women and medieval literary history.

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  • Paperback | 276 pages
  • 149.9 x 226.6 x 14.5mm | 412.78g
  • 24 Jan 2005
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • 2nd Revised ed.
  • 2 b/w illus.
  • 0521576202
  • 9780521576208
  • 1,680,643

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'... a harbinger of the way our thinking about literary culture in the Middle Ages is destined to be transformed by ... painstaking exhumations of women's lives and roles ... invaluable.' Nicholas Watson, Studies in the Age of Chaucer 'There is much of interest in every one of these chapters, and individually the essays are precisely focused and often succienct.' AUMLA

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Back cover copy

This collection of essays offers a pioneering review of women's access to literary culture in medieval Britain, and their representation within it. The rise of female literacy and women's activities as writers, patrons and readers, are examined in the context of wider questions of orality and literacy. The representation of women in different literary genres, secular and religious, shows the ways in which their position was understood in a variety of roles, as lovers, mothers and saints. This revised edition, newly available in paperback, includes a unique chronology offering a woman-centred perspective on historical and literary events before 1500, together with a guide to further reading.

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