Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth-Century Holy Woman

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth-Century Holy Woman

Article excerpt

Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth-Century Holy Woman, ed. Samuel Fanous and Henrietta Leyser (London: Routledge, 2005). xvi + 266 pp.; 8 colour plates. ISBN 0-415-30859-3. £16.99. This collection of essays at once makes a significant contribution to scholarship on Christina of Markyate and provides a valuable contextual and introductory volume. The volume might readily be termed a Companion to Christina of Markyate. Several essays offer cultural, social, and religious contextual material: Henrietta Leyser introduces the volume with an essay on Christina's life; Douglas Gray surveys the literary background; Stephanie Hollis and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne discuss St Albans and the nature of women's monasticism. A further group of essays treats Christina's life in terms of the traditions of virginity, divine love, spiritual friendship, asceticism, and hagiography. Samuel Fanous places Christina's life in the context of martyrdom's 'double crown'; Neil Cartlidge discusses the literary interweaving of romance and spiritual drama; C. Stephen Jaeger explores the loves of Christina, both spiritual and earthly, placing particular emphasis on Christina's friendship with Abbot Geoffrey; Thomas Head sets Christina's avoidance of earthly marriage alongside notions of mystical marriage; R. …

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