Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages

Article excerpt

Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages, ed. Liz McAvoy and Mari Hughes-Fdwards, Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005). xiv + 226 pp. ISBN 0-7083-1865-0. £45.00. This collection of essays, the fruits of a conference held in 2002, makes an interesting and valuable contribution to the University of Wales Press's Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages Series. The book focuses on how ideas of gender intersected with the phenomenon of anchoritism, and on the making and influence of discourses of anchoritic enclosure from the period of the Desert Fathers through to the fifteenth century. Liz Herbert McAvoy and Mari Hughes-Kdwards introduce the volume's theme of the intersection of time and space with gender and enclosure; Alexandra Barratt, in an essay that serves as a point de répère, explores 'the multiplicity of ways in which the female anatomy offered up a code of interpretation, which allowed for a gendered deciphering of the physical and metaphysical space of the anchorhold and the anchorite's existential role within it' (p. …

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