Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 15613
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Johns , Susan M.
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  • Title: Poetry and Prayer: Women and Politics of Spiritual Relationships in the Early Twelfth Century
  • Source: European Review of History 8, 1 ( 2001): Pages 7 - 22.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Clergy Countesses Gender in Literature Noble Women in Literature Orderic Vitalis, Historian Politics Power Queens Spiritual Care William of Malmesbury, Historian Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles;France
  • Century: 12
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  • Abstract: Writers such as the author of the "Histoire," Richard of Devizes, Jordan Fantosme, earlier writers such as Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury, or even the dubious Geoffrey of Monmouth, used gendered language to comment, criticise or alternatively applaud women's roles. Their views on women can be explained by the climate of clerical misogyny within which they wrote, their desire to please their patron, and the convention of genre. There were many influences working on individual writers which can explain their views. William of Malmesbury was partisan to the Angevin cause; Orderic Vitalis wrote an ecclesiastical history which criticised the morals of secular society and castigated violently the enemies of the patrons of his monastery. The complex nature of the portrayals of both men and women therefore has to be studied in the light of such biases. Noblewomen participated in literary patronage, they inspired authors as models of virtue, were condemned for typically feminine vices, and as such exerted some influence over the shape of texts. They also commissioned texts, were connected with churchmen and such networks could be used for political purposes. Literary sources have been the subject of much theoretical discussion, yet they can be read alongside charters, the evidence of women's economic, administrative, religious patronage and individual initiative, which have in comparison been relatively neglected. [Reproduced by permission of Taylor & Francis at http://www.tandf.co.uk]
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  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 13507486
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