Last Things and Afterlives

Sheila Delany

in Impolitic Bodies

Published in print November 1998 | ISBN: 9780195109887
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855216 | DOI:
Last Things and Afterlives

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The final chapter discusses several issues surrounding the genre of hagiography. The first deals with the existence of an element of voyeuristic masculine sadism in male-authored narratives of female saints. The second issue raised is the value or positive merit of the representation of violence in these accounts. Lastly, martyrology is ascribed with the same unsavory aspects as pornography. The chapter cites various analyses and writings of women on feminism in hagiography which highlight the eventual triumph of the women martyrs over their oppressors, their strength and ingenuity in daring to fight back in life-threatening circumstances, and the uniquely feminine power of endurance exemplified by the suffering depicted in the narratives. In the final section, the chapter concludes with a debate on the timelessness of hagiography, given the continuity in the practice of bestowing sainthood, not only in the Christian realm, but in other religions as well.

Keywords: hagiography; martyrology; feminism; saint; Christian; religion; female; woman

Chapter.  9752 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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