Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Special Features 

KnuddstoreIn order to bring useful titles and collections to the attention of researchers, Feminae presents these special feature pages:

If you have ideas for new features, please contact the editor, Margaret Schaus. mailto:mschaus@haverford.edu

Children’s Books about Medieval Women and Gender

In recent years children’s authors have incorporated new scholarship on medieval women and gender into their historical fiction. Girls go on pilgrimage (The Ramsay Scallop), illustrate manuscripts (Marguerite Makes a Book), and fight for a kingdom (Edge on The Sword).  The most influential author in this vein is Karen Cushman whose first novel Catherine, Called Birdy brought a young girl vividly to life in her struggle to avoid her father’s choices for her future husband. The fascinating details of thirteenth-century English life provide a backdrop for Birdy’s humor and strong will.

Picture Books

Clayton, Elaine. The Yeoman’s Daring Daughter and the Princes in the Tower. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1999. http://www.amazon.com/Yeomans-Daring-Daughter-Princes-Tower/dp/0517709848/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272569644&sr=1-1

Hastings, Selina, ed.  Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady.  Walker Books, 1987.

Milligan, Bruce. Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2002.

Poole, Josephine. Joan of Arc. Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Robertson, Bruce. Marguerite Makes a Book. Getty Publications, 1999.

Visconti, Guido, and Bimba Landmann. Clare and Francis. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2004.

Young Adult Novels and Stories

Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy. Clarion Books, 1994.

Cushman, Karen.  The Midwife’s Apprentice.  Clarion Books, 1995.

Konigsburg, E. L.  A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver.  Atheneum, 1973.
While Eleanor of Aquitaine awaits King Henry II in heaven, she and her friends recount her life.

Napoli, Donna Jo.  Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale.  Atheneum, 2007.
Melkorka is taken captive and made a slave. 

Schlitz, Laura Amy, and Robert Byrd.  Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village.  Candlewick Press, 2007.

Skurzynski, Gloria.  Spider’s Voice.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999.
Heloise and Abelard’s love affair narrated by a young servant boy

Temple, Frances.  The Ramsay Scallop.  Orchard, 1994.
An engaged couple go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Tingle, Rebecca.  The Edge on the Sword.  Putnam’s, 2001.
Story of young Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred.  The sequel, Far Traveler http://www.amazon.com/Far-Traveler-Rebecca-Tingle/dp/0756963923/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2 concerns her daughter Aelfwyn.

Weil, Sylvie.  My Guardian Angel.  Scholastic Paperbacks, 2007.
A young Jewish girl in France befriends a reluctant Crusader.

Yolen, Jane, and Robert Harris.  Girl in a Cage. 
Robert the Bruce’s young daughter is caught and put on display by the English.


Encyclopedias and Other Reference Books

New fields of inquiry, like medieval women’s and gender studies, go through phases of development with research articles and monographs in the vanguard.  It takes time for general histories and textbooks to catch up with new interpretations, but encyclopedias are even slower to incorporate the results of research in every scholarly area from art history to theology.  The challenge is not simply to signal women’s conditions and achievements but to analyze issues with both women and men taken into consideration.  The often hitherto unfactored element of female viewpoints often gives a new perspective on long-standing questions. 

In recent years scholars have begun compiling specialized reference works that incorporate the new scholarship on medieval women and gender.  The titles below provide brief, accurate answers about people, literary works, places, and events.  But these encyclopedias and handbooks also give broad overviews of important topics with analysis indicating current directions of research.


Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England. Edited by Diana Robin, Anne R. Larsen, and Carole Levin. ABC-CLIO, 2007.

Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Margaret Schaus. Routledge, 2006.

Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia.  Edited by Katharina M. Wilson and Nadia Margolis.  Greenwood Press, 2004.  2 volumes.



Cambridge Companion to Medieval Women’s Writing. Edited by Carolyn Dinshaw and David Wallace. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Companion to Ancrene Wisse. Edited by Yoko Wada. D. S. Brewer, 2003.

Companion to Julian of Norwich.  Edited by Liz Herbert McAvoy.  Boydell & Brewer, 2008.

Companion to The Book of Margery Kempe. Edited by John H. Arnold and Katherine J. Lewis. D. S. Brewer, 2004.

Handbook of Medieval Sexuality. Edited by Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage. Garland, 1996.

Medieval Holy Women in the Christian Tradition c. 1100- c. 1500.  Edited by Alastair Minnis and Rosalynn Voaden.  Brepols, 2010.

Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History.  Edited by Joel T. Rosenthal.  University of Georgia Press, 1990.

Women Medievalists and the Academy. Edited by Jane Chance. University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.

Primary Source Anthologies

Love, Marriage, and Family in the Middle Ages: A Reader.  Edited by Jacqueline Murray.  Broadview Press, 2001.

Love, Sex and Marriage in the Middle Ages: A Sourcebook. Edited by Conor McCarthy. Routledge, 2004.

Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Edited Jo Ann McNamara and John E. Halborg with E. Gordon Whatley. Duke University Press, 1992.

Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts.  Edited by Alcuin Blamires; with Karen Pratt and C.W. Marx.
Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, 1992.

Women and Writing in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook. Edited by Carolyne Larrington. Routledge, 1995.

Women in Italy, 1350-1650: Ideals and Realities: A Sourcebook. Edited by Mary Rogers and Paola Tinagli. Manchester University Press, 2005.

Women's Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook.  Edited by Emilie Amt.  2nd edition.  Routledge, 2010.

The Writings of Medieval Women: An Anthology. Edited by Marcelle Thiébaux. 2nd edition. Garland, 1994.

Museum Exhibition Catalogs

Museum exhibit catalogs concerning medieval women and gender have grown in number in the last decade. Exhibitions and their publications, like Krone und Schleier and Virtue and Beauty, open up new avenues of exploration with their juxtapositions of themes, genres, and visual materials. They make connections which fill in the fabric of cultural practices and social beliefs.

Work has begun on indexing the essays in these catalogs in Feminae. See the lists below for the titles currently indexed, listed, and awaiting action. The catalog essays provide valuable analysis, not only of material culture and art history, but more generally of issues in history, literature, religion, economics, and cultural history.

Most catalog titles below include a link. They generally take you either to a description of the museum exhibit or to the publisher’s page with the catalog’s table of contents.

If you know of other exhibit catalogs that should be included in Feminae, please send the titles to the editor, Margaret Schaus. mailto:mschaus@haverford.edu

Exhibition Catalogs Listed in Feminae

Aliénor d'Aquitaine. 303 Arts, Recherches et Créations, 2004.

Byzantine Women and their World. Edited by Ioli Kalavrezou and Angeliki E Laiou. Harvard University Art Museums, 2003.

Catharina: testi ed immagini di S. Caterina da Siena nelle raccolte casanatensi. Edited by Giuliana Cavallini and Angela Adriana Cavarra. S & PJ, 1998.

Les Dominicaines d'Unterlinden. Edited by Madeleine Blondel et al. Somogy; Musée d'Unterlinden, 2000-2001. 2 volumes.
Femmes, art et religion au Moyen Âge. Musée d’Unterlinden (Colmar, France). Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2004. Papers from a colloquium held in conjunction with the exhibit.

Frauen im Galluskloster: Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen (20. März - 12. November 2006). Edited by Theres Flury. Verlag am Klosterhof, 2006.

Hildegard von Bingen, 1098-1179. Edited by Winfried Wilhelmy. P. von Zabern, 1998.
Review of the catalog by Albrecht Classen from the Medieval Review 99.06.17  https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/4777/99.06.17.html?sequence=1

Krone und Schleier: Kunst aus mittelalterlichen Frauenklöstern; Ruhrlandmuseum: die frühen Klöster und Stifte 500-1200; Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: die Zeit der Orden 1200-1500; eine Ausstellung der Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, in Kooperation mit dem Ruhrlandmuseum Essen ermöglicht durch die Kunststiftung NRW. Edited by Jutta Frings and Jan Gerchow. Hirmer, 2005. See below for English language version.

The Mother Of God : Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine Art. Benaki Museum. Edited by Maria Vassilaki. Skira editore, 2000. http://www.benaki.gr/index.asp?lang=en&id=20205&sid=39 Images of the Mother of God: Perceptions of the Theotokos in Byzantium. Edited by Maria Vassilaki. Ashgate Pub, 2005. A collection of essays to complement the exhibit and catalog.

Radegonde, reine, moniale et sainte. Son culte en Limousin. Catalogue d’exposition. Musée de Pays d’Ussel, 2003.

750 Jahre Zisterzienserinnen-Abtei Lichtenthal. Edited by Harald Siebenmorgen. Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1995.

Vestiduras ricas: el Monastero de las Huelgas y su epoca, 1170-1340. Patrimonio Nacional, 2005.


Exhibition Catalogs Waiting to be Listed in Feminae

Birgitta Birgersdotter: The Woman behind the Saint. Edited by Lin Annerbäck. Museum of Medieval Stockholm, 2003.

La ciudad de las damas 1405-2005. Christine, de Pisan, Montserrat Cabré i Pairet, Dolores Gorostiaga Sáiz, Federico Gutiérrez-Solana Salcedo. Gobierno de Cantabria, Universidad de Cantabria, 2005.

Crown and Veil: Female Monasticism from the Fifth to the Fifteenth Centuries. By Jeffrey F. Hamburger et. al. Columbia University Press, 2008.

Geschrieben und gemalt--gelehrte Bücher aus Frauenhand: eine Klosterbibliothek sächsischer Benediktinerinnen des 12. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Helmar Härtel. Harrassowitz in Kommission, 2006.

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves: Devotions, Demons, and Daily Life in the Fifteenth Century.  Edited by Rob Dückers and Ruud Priem.  Abrams, 2009.