Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7715
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Nelson , Marie.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Three Fighting Female Saints
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 25, 3 (Spring 1992): Appendix A: Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies. Conference paper presented at the Twenty-Seventh Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, May 7-10, 1992, Session 347: "Anglo-Saxon Foundlings: Reclaiming Neglected Texts."
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Cynewulf, Poet- Elene Cynewulf, Poet- Juliana Hagiography Judith, Old English Poem Literature- Verse Translation Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 9-10
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  • Abstract: Three Fighting Female Saints is a continuation of a paper I presented at last year's Medieval Institute Conference. That paper, titled "From Written to Spoken Word: Helena's Intransigent Search for Knowledge,' presented what I think is the essential character-defining quality of Cynewulf's Elene--an absolute determination to find answers. It gave attention to what seemed, as I attempted to translate the Old English stories of Judith, Juliana, and Elene into readable Modern English, to be something I had to do--find ways to identify with my female heroes. This was necessary, I thought, if the words they spoke were to ring true in the language of our time. In this paper, I present speeches by Judith and Juliana that function as acts of self definition in Modern as they did in Old English. The speeches chosen show Judith first submitting herself to the will of God, then demonstrating her ability to lead warriors who had formerly been unable to defend their people; and Juliana first defying the authority of her father, then defending her own integrity through direct confrontation with the devil whom Satan sends to accost her in prison. I conclude by placing all three female heroes in a context that both conforms to, and goes beyond, the Anglo-Saxon expectation that women should consistently play life-serving roles. [Reproduced by permission of Robert Schicler, the “Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies” editor, and the editors of the “Old English Newsletter.”].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Florida
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1992.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973
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