Chapter

The Literary Corpus

Sheila Delany

in Impolitic Bodies

Published in print November 1998 | ISBN: 9780195109887
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855216 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195109887.003.0002
The Literary Corpus

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  • Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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The chapter provides a history of Osbern Bokenham's legendary—its milieu and literary influences. Bokenham's focus on female saints is said to derive from a variety of factors such as the strong religious attachment to intercessors for God—the saints, a significant number of which were women. Also, the growing influence of women as patrons of art and religion and as ecclesiastical members provided Bokenham with an audience for his work. Lastly, his exposure to the major religious literature and canons of his time also played a part in his choice. The second half of the chapter explores the non-religious precursors and possible influences on Bokenham's legendary, the most famous of which was Geoffrey Chaucer's literary pieces on women saints. The chapter examines the differences and similarities between the works of Bokenham and Chaucer and asserts that the underlying philosophy and motivation of the two hagiographical pieces are different.

Keywords: Osbern Bokenham; female; saints; Geoffrey Chaucer; legendary; hagiographical; women; patrons

Chapter.  7484 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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