Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3940
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Dockray-Miller , Mary.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Maternal Performance of the Virgin Mary in the Old English "Advent"
  • Source: NWSA Journal 14, 2 (Summer 2002): Pages 38 - 55.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Advent Lyrics Body in Literature Devotional Literature Exeter Book- Advent, Old English Poem Femininity in Literature Literature- Verse Mary, Virgin, Saint in Literature Mothers in Literature Readers Women in Active Roles in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 9-10
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  • Abstract: Throughout the Christian era, literary and artistic representations of the Virgin Mary have been manipulated by a variety of ideologies, religious or political, to define the appropriate positioning and agency of the feminine in a culture. The culture of Anglo-Saxon England, like most others, almost always presented Mary in positive terms, celebrating her for humility, purity, and passivity. In the "Advent Lyrics" of the "Exeter Book," however, Mary's ideal and idealized femininity does occasionally reveal its precarious underpinnings in metaphor and in its need to disempower the Mother. Analysis of the metaphors and diction that refer to Mary, especially in lyric nine, reveals her as a necessarily female, maternally embodied, active subject in spite of the text's traditional figurative language. This reading as well permits twenty-first-century scholars to expand our understanding of the possible audiences of the poem to include professed religious women associated with Exeter Cathedral. [Reproduced by permission of Indiana University Press].
  • Author's Affiliation: Lesley College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 10400656
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