Professor Anne McTaggart
Summer 2014, Full Course.
This course will explore texts written by and about women from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, with special emphases on romance and devotional writings. Our reading and discussion will be organized around themes and concerns shared by medieval writers of both sexes: ancient and medieval theories of gender and sexuality; the question of authority and the status of women writers as teachers and visionaries; tensions between religious ideals and the secular life; and, in the texts written by women, the problem of women's self-definition in a culture in which definitions of creativity and authority commonly excluded women. By tracing these concerns across a range of canonical and non-canonical works, this course aims not only to illuminate the complex role of women in medieval literature and thought but also to demonstrate the importance of medieval writings by and about women for contemporary debates about concepts of gender.