Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages

By Jane Chance | Go to book overview

8
Autohagiography and Medieval Women's Spiritual Autobiograpby

Kate Greenspan

The postmodern embrace of medieval holy women1 has made legitimate the study of works formerly dismissed as unworthy of serious attention. Early researchers in the field regarded women's "spiritual autobiographies," vitae, revelations, treatises, letters, and poetry as evidence of an underground movement of valiant, saintly females, speaking out in spite of patriarchal prohibitions ( Petroff, Consolation, i). At the same time, the extreme asceticism to which they subjected their bodies, their deference to the authority of clerics less able than themselves, and their repression of intellectual curiosity, of artistic talent, of sexuality, seemed to imply that holy women had bowed uncritically to their age's misogynist values. In either case, holy women's writings contained a wealth of otherwise unavailable detail about everyday life, often informed by an apparently feminist sensibility. For a long time, the real detail and the perceived feminism seemed to offer scholars unprecedented revelations of women's inner and outer experience. Most expected to find in these works the individual voices of exceptional women who defied their culture to speak to us across the centuries.

As women's writing has never been well represented in the medieval canon, many scholars assumed at first that their literary output was scant. Some works, dictated by illiterate women to male amanuenses, were regarded with suspicion as inauthentic or appropriated. Investigators of the few works that appeared in modern editions tended either to condemn the authors as "inevitably given to emotionalism and vivid imagining" ( O'Brien, 118-19), or to characterize them as exceptional women, their writings as more personal and intimate than those of their male counterparts. But over the course of the last fifteen years we have recovered so many spiritual autobiographies by medieval religious women that the notion of their "ex-

-216-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gender and Text in the Later Middle Ages
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 342

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.