Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8271
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Lee , Christina.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Voices in the Wilderness [Anglo-Latin women's writings]
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 34, 3 (Spring 2001): Appendix A: Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies. Conference paper presented at the Thirty-Sixth International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, May 3-6, 2001, Nineteenth Symposium on the Sources of A
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Latin Literature Learning and Scholarship Women Authors
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century:
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  • Abstract: Only two Old English poems have female speakers. Texts, such as tblat-i• of Egypt, in which women appear as narrators, are equally scarce in the vernacular, and they seem to be completely absent as voices in legal or historical documents. However, women did write, but not in Old English. In the early days of the missionary movements women were respected as correspondents and were asked to assist them in prayer and even to provide text material, as the letter from Boniface to abbess Eadburg shows. Lioba tells him that the same abbess taught her the art of poetry and adds a little poem for Boniface to judge her art, and we know from Vernantius Fortunatus that Radegunde also included poems in her letters to him. Peter Dronke has pointed out, that some of the imagery in the Latin letters of Anglo-Saxon nuns corresponds to that of Old English poetry. This form of female expression has so far been widely neglected. On the Continent women like Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, herself a niece of Otto 1, appear as the chroniclers of their family history in the tenth century, but Anglo-Saxon women of this period seem to be conspicuously silent. Two English queens, Emma and Edith, later commission work, but there is no evidence for an Anglo-Saxon Dhuoda. Asser tells us that it was Alfred's mother, who was responsible for his education in the vernacular texts, but women are usually not praised for their book learning. What place did women have in the chronicling of their time'? For example, the English sources are more or less silent on the marriage of +thelstan's sister with Otto. but in Hrotswitha's descriptions she is an important member of her family and therefore an asset to the Ottoman dynasty. In this paper I look at some of the Anglo-Latin writings of women, their tone and imagery. and their place in the cultural world of their time. I hope to show an intertextual approach to Anglo-Saxon poetry and to some of the neglected texts of this period. [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 Manchester
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973