Academic journal article Magistra

Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350-1550

Academic journal article Magistra

Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350-1550

Article excerpt

Women, Manuscripts and Identity in Northern Europe, 1350-1550 by Joni M. Hand. Surrey, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing, 2013, 251 pp., $104.95, ISBN 978-1-40945023-8.

The author of this book has done an extensive study of the devotional manuscripts that belonged to the women of the Valois courts from the mid-fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries. In doing so, she presents information from several different perspectives.

First, there is the matter of the texts themselves: what the women possessed, the origins of the texts, and what they contained. Included are not only observations about the texts but observations regarding coats of arms, marginal notes, and illumination. The illustrations are particularly significant because they give information about how religious scenes were portrayed, how the women patrons were portrayed, and how the two interact.

The manuscripts then also give considerable information about the cultural, social and political world and how the women practiced their faith. By looking deeply at these manuscripts, the reader is able to learn much about the self-expression and selfdefinition of the women who commissioned and used these materials. …

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