Women's Literary Culture and the Medieval Canon

An International Network Funded by the Leverhulme Trust

(W)ri(gh)ting the Canon

‘Great Beasts Isolated on Mountains’ (see citations in the text). Image: Crocodile from the Rochester Bestiary. Wikimedia Commons What did it mean to read and write as a medieval woman? This is of course one of the big questions that the Women’s Literary Culture network is investigating: scholarly work on the writings of Margery Kempe […]

Chaucer, Religious Controversies and Women’s Literary Culture

Chaucer, Ellesmere Manuscript. Image from Wikimedia Commons My most recent book project, entitled Chaucer and Religious Controversies from the Middle Ages to the Augustan Age, adopts the comparative, boundary crossing approach that generally characterizes my research. In this project, however, I shift my attention from texts and figures that are, by and large, relatively unknown […]

The Enclosed Garden and Female Religious Identity

The Paradiesgärtlein (Garden of Paradise), c. 1410, The Upper Rhenish Master, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Public Domain (Wikipedia Commons) When thinking about medieval women and the enclosed garden, we commonly recall the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs: ‘hortus conclusus soror mea sponsa hortus conclusus fons signatus’ (4:12). Interpreted by the Church Fathers as […]

Could Agnes Paston Write? The Problem of Letter 13.

Letter from Agnes Paston to her husband, William Paston, Norfolk, 20 April 1440. (c) British Library Board: BL Additional MS 43488, f. 4r.   The literacy of the Paston women has been widely discussed by critics in recent decades. The Paston correspondence of the fifteenth century is a unique archive, that includes the largest collection […]

The Lost Blood of the Middle Age

The Crucifixion, Pietro Lorenzetti (1320-44), tempera and gold leaf on wood. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002). Images and stories of bloodshed have been ubiquitous of late. Bloodied and wounded children in Syria are carried towards hospitals by wailing parents after being exploded by man-made weapons. Blood […]

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