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Medieval Women's Writing

Hardback By Diane Watt
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Product Description

Medieval Women's Writing is a major new contribution to our understanding of women's writing in England, 1100-1500. The most comprehensive account to date, it includes writings in Latin and French as well as English, and works for as well as by women. Marie de France, Clemence of Barking, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and the Paston women are discussed alongside the Old English lives of women saints, The Life of Christina of Markyate, the St Albans Psalter, and the legends of women saints by Osbern Bokenham. Medieval Women's Writing addresses these key questions: Who were the first women authors in the English canon? What do we mean by women's writing in the Middle Ages? What do we mean by authorship? How can studying medieval writing contribute to our understanding of women's literary history? Diane Watt argues that female patrons, audiences, readers, and even subjects contributed to the production of texts and their meanings, whether written by men or women. Only an understanding of textual production as collaborative enables us to grasp fully women's engagement with literary culture. This radical rethinking of early womens literary history has major implications for all scholars working on medieval literature, on ideas of authorship, and on women's writing in later periods. The book will become standard reading for all students of these debates.

Product Details

Format: Hardback, 216 pages Language: English
Dimension: 23.62cm x 16cm x 2.03cm ISBN10: 0745632556
Weight: 435g ISBN13: 9780745632551
Publication Date: 28 Aug 2007 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Diane Watt is Professor of Medieval English Literature at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Product Reviews


"A scholarly, sensitive and thoughtful account that will be invaluable to anyone studying the literary history of the period, from undergraduate level onwards." BBC History Magazine "A careful and intelligent selection of some of the better-known works either by, for or on behalf of women .


. This [is a] highly informed, well-researched, non-esoteric and thoroughly accessible volume." Times Higher Education Supplement "Essential reading for student and academic alike." Medium Aevum "By combining a theoretically informed, inclusive theory of textuality with persuasive readings of well-known and less-familiar texts, Watt's study offers a valuable contribution to teaching and scholarship alike." Speculum "A rich study in literary sociology. The value of Watt's book is to demonstrate not only that, but how, some medieval texts in various genres have been negotiated and mediated." Journal of English and Germanic Philology "The book blends two philosophiesthat one might think irreconcilable. First, the book is directed squarely (although not exclusively) at university students. Second, the book includes the kind of close and original readings of texts that a scholar might normally reserve for a journal article or monograph. The fact that Watt has blended these two seemingly separate activities is wonderful to see - why shouldn't students be given the respect of having new and original research directed straight at them?"Medieval Feminist Forum "Each chapter would be of interest to scholars of women in medieval England, in particular those who work on Christina of Markyate, Marie de France, legends and lives of women saints, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe and the Paston letters. Watt's fine volume concludes with an extremely useful bibliography and list of suggested readings." The Year's Work in English Studies "A useful addition not only to the work on medieval women writers in particular, but to the history of women's writing in general, making ever more apparent those foremothers whose absence Virginia Woolf lamented." Feminist Theory "I am delighted by the appearance of this book. Lucidly written for a general audience, Medieval Women's Writing is by far the most interesting, balanced, and up-to-date study now in print. But it is more than this: it is also a collection of original readings of major women writers, which has new and often powerful things to say about how we think about women's writing in the premodern period, and about what it means to describe this writing as a 'women's literary tradition'. Flexible, passionate, eth


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