Authorizing Female Piety

Diane Watt

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199229123
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Authorizing Female Piety

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This article offers a broad overview of English women's authority and piety from the Anglo-Saxon period to the fifteenth century that looks at accounts of women's visions either written down by the women themselves or recorded by others. It focuses on women's visions of the dead and the dying and considers representative selection of texts and writers including Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Julian of Norwich's The Book of Margery Kempe, and an anonymous female-authored fifteenth-century text known as A Revelation of Purgatory. It suggests that most of the relatively small corpus of writing by women in the European Middle Ages was religious in content.

Keywords: women's authority; women's piety; England; Anglo-Saxon period; Bede; Ecclesiastical History; Julian of Norwich; The Book of Margery Kempe; A Revelation of Purgatory

Article.  8162 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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