Nuns as Historians in Early Modern Germany

Synopsis

The literary history of early modern German convents is a much neglected field. Nuns' writings were rarely printed and generally only read within their institution. In this study - the first to highlight the significance of this large body of writing - Charlotte Woodford provides an overview of nuns' literary activities in this period, an examination of how the tradition of monastic history became established in convents, and the variety of ways in which it permitted women to express their creativity. Bringing together for the first time a significant collection of primary source material, Nuns as Historians in Early Modern Germany also includes a number of illuminating case studies, such as a biography of a fifteenth-century visionary, a prioress's diary, and an abbess's chronicle from the Thirty Years' War. It also offers a valuable reassessment of Caritas Pirckheimer's memoirs, written during the Reformation.