To the Glory of Her Sex

To the Glory of Her Sex : Women's Roles in the Composition of Medieval Texts

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The author's readings in the public and private correspondence of medieval women suggested to her that women were far more involved in affairs of the world and in the lives and work of prominent men than is normally acknowledged. Letters of dedication led her to works commissioned by women, or dedicated to them, which often reflect the interests and views of the women. Additionally, works written by women reveal a sense of the achievements of other women as well as of the problems they face in a male and usually misogynist world. "To the Glory of Her Sex" looks at the roles women played in medieval literature as patrons or collaborators and as authors. Men who wrote for women, whether religious texts written at their request, historical texts written as propaganda for them or their cause, or romances composed for their favor, offer women models from history and the bible, and from fiction of intelligent, forceful women.Though they were painfully aware of the prejudices against women in public life and the problems women faced in private life, they were more likely to take pride in the achievements of women than to present them as victims.
The women who conveyed God's message to men, Hildegard of Bingen and Elisabeth of Schoenau, nuns who wrote for religions and secular audiences, Hrotsvit and Clemence of Barking, and women who wrote for worldly courts, the trobairitz, marie de France, later Christine de Pizan, admired the same qualities of intelligence and courage and independence in other women, and found support in the lives and affection of women for themselves and their audiences.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 312 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 20.32mm | 294.83g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253211085
  • 9780253211088

About Joan M. Ferrante

Joan M. Ferrante, Professor of Comparative Literature at Columbia University, is the author of Woman as Image in Medieval Literature, a translation of the Lais of Marie de France with Robert Hanning, and The Political Vision of the Divine Comedy.
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