Academic journal article Magistra

Gender in Medieval Culture

Academic journal article Magistra

Gender in Medieval Culture

Article excerpt

Gender in Medieval Culture, Michelle M. Sauer. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. 207 pp., $32.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-44114262-7.

Michelle Sauer provides a broad and informative overview of how gender shaped and affected all of the dimensions of medieval society, religion, economics and culture. Her narrative style is clear and vivid, bringing the reader into a world that is more complex and nuanced than some would imagine. She is careful not to fall into the trap of viewing a very different world from our own through modern lenses that oversimplify or look only for evidence that supports the author's preconceived notions.

She begins with an overview of the medieval social world as expressed in its law, medicine and science. The titles of the next two sections really articulate the way the book will go: "The Expected Ideal: Marriage and Virginity" immediately followed by "The Unexpected Actuality: 'Deviance' and Transgression. …

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