The Literary Subversions of Medieval Women

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-07-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Winner of the 2008 SCMLA Book Prize!! This study of medieval women as postcolonial writers defines the literary strategies of subversion by which they authorized their alterity within the dominant tradition. To dismantle a colonizing culture, they made public the private feminine space allocated by gender difference: they constructed 'unhomely' spaces. They inverted gender roles of characters to valorize the female; they created alternate idealized feminist societies and cultures, or utopias, through fantasy; and they legitimized female triviality-the homely female space-to provide autonomy. While these methodologies often overlapped in practice, they illustrate how cultures impinge on languages to create what Deleuze and Guattari have identified as a minor literature, specifically for women as dis-placed. Women writers discussed include Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, Hildegard of Bingen, Marie de France, Marguerite Porete, Catherine of Siena, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Christine de Pizan.

Author Biography

Jane Chance, Professor of English and Director, Medieval Studies Program and Workshop, at Rice University, has taught medieval literature for thirty-six years. Founding President of the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, Inc. (TEAMS), she has published twenty-one books and nearly a hundred articles and reviews, on medieval women, mythography, Middle English literature, and modern medievalism.

Table of Contents

The Discursive Strategies of the Marginalized
St. Agnes and the Emperor's Daughter in Hrotsvit of Gandersheim: Feminizing the Founding of the Early Roman Church
Marie de France Versus King Arthur: Lanval's Gender Inversion as Breton Subversion
Marguerite Porete's Annihilation of the Character Reason in Her Fantasy of an Inverted Church
Unhomely Margery Kempe and St. Catherine of Siena: "Comownycacyon" and "Conversacyon" as Homily
Toward a Minor Literature: Julian of Norwich's Annihilation of Original Sin
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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