Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7595
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Olsen , Alexandra Hennessey.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Gender Roles [overview of recent scholarship with an emphasis on the active roles that women play in "Beowulf"].
  • Source: A Beowulf Handbook.  Edited by Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles.  University of Nebraska Press, 1997.  Pages 311 - 324.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Beowulf, Old English Epic Gender Literature- Verse Women in Active Roles in Literature Women in Literature
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 8-9
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Scholarly approaches to the depiction of women in Beowulf have changed substantially over the years. Until about 1970, most Anglo-Saxonists assumed that, since men were responsible for public functions like king, warrior, and avenger, and since women held roles viewed as purely private such as hostesses, peaceweavers, and ritual mourners, women were passive in the social world depicted in Beowulf. Anglo-Saxonists also assumed that women were therefore marginalized by the poet. After 1970, women in the poem and in Anglo-Saxon society have more often been viewed as active and powerful figures who function on a nearly equal footing with men. Among the several women of the poem, Grendel's mother, Wealhtheow, and Hygd have attracted the most critical attention. [Reproduced from A Beowulf Handbook edited by Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. © 1997 by the University of Nebraska Press.]
  • Table:
  • Abstract:
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Denver
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0803212372