Early English Devotional Prose and the Female Audience / Edition 1

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1990. Hardcover 227pp. Fine / Fine dj.

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1990-10-01 Hardcover Good Hardback with dust jacket in good condition! Book looks great, with only light shelf wear to dust jacket. Text does have quite a few underlined, and ... notated passages, mostly in pencil. Overall, a good usable, readable copy! Read more Show Less

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Overview

After the NOrman conquest, women and the lower classes became the primary audiences for English, as opposed to Latin or French, literature. Among the works written for female audiences are the hitherto neglected "AB texts": three female saints' lives, a tract on virginity, a homily, and a guide for anchoresses. In this lucid, innovative study, Elizabeth Robertson shows that the AB texts were written in an effective experiential style that distinguished them from other spiritual works of the period.

Key characteristics of this special style--nonteleological structre, pervasive use of concrete imagery, and thematic focus on the female body--have been viewed by some as hallmarks of women's writing more generally. Combining feminist theory with critical skill and an impressive command of Old and Middle English materials, the author argues, to the contrary, that in the thirteenth-century England this style was created by educated male writers in accord with their beliefs about nature and needs of marginal social groups.

Beginning with the history and motivations of female anchorites and surveying medieval philosophy and theology in relation to gender theory, this book offers the first comprehensive analysis of the AB texts and then details their debt to earlier English vernacular works and to the continental theological movements that increasingly emphasized physical experience and matter. The result is an exciting, learned account of the feminization of early English prose.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examining a body of 13th-century English literature addressed to women, the the generally held view that they were written by women, and contends rather that educated men created the literary style, an analysis of which reveals the attitudes of the time. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870496417
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1990
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 227
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 0.77 (d)

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