The Discourse of Enclosure

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Overview

The enclosure of women, whether literally in monastic establishments or socially by marriage and convention, strongly influenced the female subjects and authors of Old English literature. Horner's interesting study examines the restriction of women and the forces that enclosed them in a wide range of texts, including Beowulf , elegies, female lyrics and Saints' Lives. She also looks at the ways in which female heroines, victims and authors could struggle against their lot and examines the relationship between textual and bodily violence.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Descriptions of the often sexual in nature violence against female saints are not for the squeamish, but medieval readers understood what pagan torturers did not: that these women were among the select few that could transcend such violation. Exploring Old English texts ranging from to , Horner (English, Shippensburg U.) not only analyzes women's devotional practices in Anglo-Saxon England and period literary representations of femininity, but also links the ideological enclosure of cloistered women with the premium put on virginity. The author concludes that these models of female enclosure prefigured the surge of women's literature and spirituality in the later Middle Ages. Includes an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
This is an important and inventive book. Horner uses a supple argument about the discourse of female enclosure-enclosure in a monastery, enclosure in the body, and enclosure in a text-to link a feminist reading of four Old English works not usually read together: the heroic epic Beowulf, the female-voiced Old English elegies, a verse saint's life, and female portions of the Lives of Saints by Aelfric. The result is an elegant and informative feminist reading of all these works and a developed methodology that sheds light on women's experiences as readers of Old English texts and as subjects within those texts.— Jonathan Wilcox, editor of Humour in Anglo-Saxon Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791450109
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: SUNY Series in Medieval Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 207
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Shari Horner is Assistant Professor of English at Shippensburg University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Dedication

Introduction
The Discourse of Enclosure: Inscribing the Feminine in Old English Literature

Chapter One
Looking Into Enclosure in the Old English Female Lyrics

Chapter Two
Voices From the Margins: Women and Textual Enclosure in Beowulf

Chapter Three
Textual/Sexual Violence: The Old English Juliana and the Anglo-Saxon Female Reader

Chapter Four
Bodies and Borders: The Hermeneutics ofEnclosure in Ælfric's Lives of Female Saints

Conclusion
Christina of Markyate and Legacies of Enclosure

Bibliography

Index

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