Elizabeth L'Estrange, Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages

By Kane, Bronach | Medium Aevum, Fall-Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Elizabeth L'Estrange, Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages


Kane, Bronach, Medium Aevum


Elizabeth L'Estrange, Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008). 282 pp.; 16 plates, 52 figures. ISBN 978-0-7190-7543-8. 60.00 [pounds sterling].

The historiography of medieval motherhood, childbirth, maternal devotion, and health has welcomed several significant additions in the past decade (Elisheva Baumgarten, Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe (Princeton, NJ, 2004); Monica H. Green, Making Women's Medicine Masculine." The Rise of Male Authority in Pre-Modern Gynaecology (Oxford, 2008); Miri Rubin, Mother of God." A History of the Virgin Mary (London, 2009)). The intersection of gender, social practice, and feminine agency underpins much of this literature. Elizabeth L'Estrange makes an important contribution not only to these debates, but to the fields of medieval art history and manuscript studies. This book is positioned firmly within these debates, interrogating the meaning of gender and agency in ways of viewing childbirth and motherhood. Her interdisciplinary approach concentrates on visual remnants such as marginalia and images in books of hours, in tandem with more traditional records including letters, medical treatises, and records of household goods.

The book is arranged into two sections, the first elaborating on methodology, and the perspectives and social milieux of aristocratic patrons and audiences. These initial chapters lay foundations for the second half, a group of case studies focusing on manuscripts from the houses of Anjou, Brittany, and France. In her introduction, L'Estrange recognizes the limitations of reading social practice from visual sources, acknowledging that they 'cannot be used unproblematically to access "normal" medieval childbirth practices' (p. 8). This chapter also provides an insightful critique of existing feminist historiography on gender, motherhood, and the female body in late medieval religious culture. The study reiterates the importance of texts dealing with childbirth and infertility to male aristocratic viewers, who 'read' these as concerned would-be fathers and heads of failing dynasties. A number of recent studies have attempted to recover the marginal role of fathers in the late medieval birthing chamber (Becky R. Lee, 'Men's recollections of a women's rite: medieval English men's recollections regarding the rite of the purification of women after childbirth', Gender and History, 14 (2002), 224-41; Becky R. Lee, 'A company of women and men: men's recollections of childbirth in medieval England', Journal of Family History, 27/2 (2002), 92-100). Several of these draw on the evidence of jurors given in proof of age material, suggesting that male participation in childbirth was broader than previously imagined. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

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

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited article

Elizabeth L'Estrange, Holy Motherhood: Gender, Dynasty and Visual Culture in the Later Middle Ages
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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

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, 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."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.

    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.