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Women’s Lives

Self-Representation, Reception and Appropriation in the Middle Ages

What medieval women writers, readers, and characters reveal about gender in the Middle Ages.
The ubiquity of women’s voices among the medieval canon demands a reevaluation of women’s place in medieval culture. Women’s Lives reveals that the reception of women in medieval literature, often models of political transgression, suggests that women embodied more radical equality, agency, and authority than we commonly understand. Contributors explore the lives and stories of well-known medieval women, such as Hildegard of Bingen and Teresa of Cartagena, as well as lesser-known women such as Al-Kahina and Liang Hongyu.

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Table of Contents


Notes on Contributors


Nahir I. Otaño Gracia and Daniel Armenti

IElizabeth Petroff and Mysticism

1Women and Mysticism in the Medieval World
Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff

2Male Confessors and Female Penitents: Possibilities for Dialogue
Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff


3The Empowerment of Teresa de Cartagena through Her Patroness Juana de Mendoza
Borja de Cossío

4Hildegardian Remixes: Hildegard von Bingen and the Appropriation of Auctoritas
Andrés Amitai Wilson

5Language and Trance Theatre
Rebeca Sanmartín Bastida


6Smuggled Balsam and the Inscription of Memory: Hugeberc von Hildesheim and the Pilgrimage of Saint Willibald
Susan Signe Morrison

7Gender, Genre and Collaboration in the Life of Ida of Nivelles
Barbara Zimbalist

8History Meets Literary Imagination: The Making of a Twelfth-Century Woman Warrior
Lan Dong

9A Woman Mystic in Pre-Islamic North Africa: Al Kahina in the Futu? Mi?r
Denise K. Filios

IV Appropriation

10When Romance and Hagiography Meet: Inventing Saintly Women in The South English Legendary
Meriem Pagès

11Selfless Acts of Salvation as Self-Glorification: Saving the Prostitute in Hrotsvith’s Plays
Madalina Meirosu

12Liturgy and the Performance of the Mystical Self
Claire Taylor Jones

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