Medieval Women's Visionary Literature


These pages capture a thousand years of devotional and visionary writing by medieval women. The writers come from all different backgrounds and traditions, and they include founders of religious communities, hermits and recluses, wives and mothers, wandering teachers, heretics and reformers. What they all had in common was a belief that they had been chosen to speak, and here we have the evidence of their visions and experiences of the divine. Covering a span of time from late antiquity to the 15th century, the writings include examples of lyric poetry, drama (including the first play written by a woman), epics, saints' lives, and letters. as well as some newly invented genres such as the spiritual autobiography, the guide to prayer, progression of visions, and in Inquisition depositions. A new portrait of the female writer in the Middle Ages emerges, a more accurate portrait than was ever before possible, as many of these texts have either been out of print or are here translated for the first time. We see women writers of the Middle Ages doing what they did best: writing devotional, visionary, and erotic literature from a very personal viewpoint, and what they say to the modern reader has much to do with nature of creativity and the creative experience of women.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • C. H. Talbot
  • Francesca Maria Steele
  • Thalia A. Pandiri
  • Margot King
  • Ignatius O. F.M. Brady
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1986


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