Temporary virginity and the everyday body: <i>Le Bone Florence of Rome</i> and bourgeois self-making

Felicity Riddy

in Pulp Fictions of Medieval England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780719063183
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700563 | DOI:
Temporary virginity and the everyday body: Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making

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The earliest surviving representation of an English bourgeois family at prayer appears in a fifteenth-century book of hours, now known as the Bolton Hours, made for members of a York mercantile family. The family's whole prayer, cast as it is in that form of the future that imperatives bring into being opens up a space for narrative. The family is represented around the issue of sexual conduct and good name of its female members. There was more than one late-medieval discourse of virginity. On the one hand, virginity was represented as a sacred vocation that was placed highest in the triad virginity-widowhood-marriage. This way of categorizing female sexuality had been a commonplace of Christian thought since the fourth century.

Keywords: English bourgeois family; Bolton Hours; family's prayer; sexual conduct; female sexuality; virginity

Chapter.  8841 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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