Women's Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon

An International Network Funded by the Leverhulme Trust

‘A Good Conscience is a Continual Christmas’: The Manere of Good Lyving (Liber de modo bene vivendi): ‘A Devoute Tretes’ for Nuns

‘Cistercian nuns’, London, British Library, MS Yates Thompson 11, fol. 6r, Source Wikimedia Commons With the approaching festive season, many people will concur with the following saying, attributed to Benjamin Franklin: ‘there cannot be good living where there is not good drinking’. The Manere of Good Lyvyng perhaps surprisingly does not completely disagree: ‘Drynke (…) my […]


‛I am the rightful owner of this book’ : books owned by Icelandic women in the middle ages to the 18th century

ÍB 65 8vo. A common girl (born 1689) writes in her own hand that she owns this book of hymns. Picture Helgi Bragason, The National library of Iceland. Though published records have little to say about the bookish activities of secular women in Iceland in the high and late Middle Ages, the limited available evidence […]


Reading en route with Margery Kempe

The remains of the Franciscan monastery at Mount Zion, Jerusalem, which was the ‘headquarters’ of medieval European pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Photograph by Anthony Bale. During her difficult journey from her home in Norfolk to Jerusalem in the spring of 1414, the medieval mystic Margery Kempe was persistently bullied by her co-pilgrims. According to […]


Lady Godiva: Gift of God

Image from Wikimedia Commons How does a legend arise, and what purpose does it serve? Is myth the opposite of history, or can it elucidate the rather sparse hard facts that we inherit? And if the story of a noblewoman performing a highly unlikely action persists down through nearly a thousand years, what does that […]


Jerusalem Through Women’s Eyes

  Judaean desert (credit: Diane Watt, 2016). This summer, I revisited Jerusalem, a city familiar to me long before I first set foot in it. Jerusalem is regarded as a holy place by Jews, Christians and Muslims, and many people encounter it for the first time through reading sacred texts. As a medievalist who has […]


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