Women's Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon

An International Network Funded by the Leverhulme Trust

Travelling Memories: Traces of Sor Sança, Companion of Birgitta of Sweden in Medieval Barcelona

Chapel of Sant Llàtzer. Photo: Enfo. (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License) There is a famous scene in The Book of Margery Kempe in which Margery meets with a woman described in the text as a “Senyt Brydis mayden” [St. Birgitta’s maidservant]. Devotion to and imitation of Birgitta of Sweden is one of the key features […]


The Errant Hours 1: Martyrs and Motherhood

Image from The Taymouth Hours, BL Yates Thompson 13, f.68v I am quite convinced that if you scratched most writers of medieval fiction, under the surface you would find a childhood spent reading stories about the middle ages: Robin Hood, Arthurian Myths, Fairy Tales. Perhaps you would also find a longstanding love of medieval imagery […]


A Woman of Letters: Dhuoda’s Liber Manualis

Liber Manualis: Paris, BnF, ms. 12293, XI, 2, 3-12 (Creative Commons Licence) The Liber Manualis was written in Uzes (in Septimania) by Dhuoda, wife of Duke Bernard, between 30th November 841 and 2nd February 843 (XI, 2, 2-5). The text is addressed to William, his firstborn son. The title liber manualis  is a classical expression: […]


She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted: Catherine of Siena’s politics

An image of St. Catherine of Siena from a 15th-century roodscreen at Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan, Devon (my photograph) The Middle Ages was not devoid of women in politics. Women ruled kingdoms, they waged war, they managed armies and households and fiefdoms in their husbands’ and fathers’ absences. But most of these women were “to the […]


Making the Word Mat(t)er: Julian of Norwich’ Poetics of the Mother Tongue

The martyrdom of St. Cecilia of Rome and St. Valerian. Detail from a late fifteenth-century Book of Hours. The Hague, KB, 76 F 2. fol. 277r . Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum & Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag. Bron: manuscripts.kb.nl  In the 1380s, a woman has just begun to tell her story, when she remembers another narrative, heard in her teens: “I […]


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