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Excerpt: ...process necessary for appropriate expression. There are rare exceptions, but they only prove the rule. One of the two forms of production apparently women must give up to devote themselves to the other. The nuns in the Middle Ages, in the retirement of their convents, gave themselves much more than we are likely to think possible, to literary and scientific production. Within the past year I have published sketches of two distinguished women of the tenth and twelfth centuries whose books show us the intellectual interests of the women of this time. Only that women were having opportunities for mental development 227 these would not have been written, and as they were written for women, it is evident that those interests were quite widely diffused. One of these two authors comes in what is sometimes called the darkest of the Dark Ages, the tenth century; the other was born in the eleventh. They serve to show how much more intense than we are likely to think was the interest of the time in things intellectual. Without printing and without any proper means of publication, somehow these women succeeded in making literary monuments that have outlasted the wreck and ruin of time, and that have been of sufficient interest to mankind to be preserved among vicissitudes which seemed surely destined to destroy them. One of the two ladies was Roswitha, or Hrotswitha, a nun of Gandersheim, in what is now Hanover, who in the tenth century wrote a series of comedies in imitation of Terence, probably not meant to be played but to be read. She says in the preface that the reason for writing them was that so many religious were reading the indecent literature of classical Rome, with the excuse that it was necessary for the cultivation of style or for the completion of their education, that she wanted and had striven to write something moral and Christian to replace the older writings. That preface of itself ought to be enough to show us that in the nunneries along...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 106 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 6mm | 204g
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236718496
  • 9781236718495