© 2010

Margaret Paston’s Piety

  • Authors

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Joel T. Rosenthal
    Pages 1-11
  3. Joel T. Rosenthal
    Pages 13-43
  4. Joel T. Rosenthal
    Pages 83-119
  5. Joel T. Rosenthal
    Pages 121-150
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 151-217

About this book


Drawing on a close reading of nearly forty years' worth of personal letters and her will, and incorporating new archival material, Margaret Paston emerges from this study as the best example we have of how lay piety was negotiated and integrated into daily medieval life.


drawing Medieval Literature Middle Ages

About the authors

JOEL ROSENTHAL is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at The State University of New York, Stonybrook, USA.

Bibliographic information


"An engaging and insightful exposition . . . This volume will appeal to scholars and students alike. Its accessible writing style and methodological musings make it an excellent tex." - The Medieval Review

"This very readable book by a master historian at the top of his game explores the famous fifteenth-century letters of the Pastons, an up-and-coming gentry family in East Anglia, to assess the nature of the piety of the family s matriarch, Margaret Paston. Through an innovative series of investigations, Joel Rosenthal explores the signs of her piety in the religious feast days referenced in the dates of her letters, the devotional language she employed, the bequests in her will and those of other family members, the religious institutions she patronized, the books she possessed, and religious places and objects she saw. The value of the investigation lies in particular in the ordinariness of Margaret s piety, making her far more typical than the female mystics upon which scholarship so often focuses. Students and researchers alike will find much to value in this highly readable and accessible volume, which is accompanied by very full and informative notes that add considerable scholarly heft to the lively narrative of the text." - Maryanne Kowaleski, Joseph Fitzpatrick SJ Distinguished Professor of History and Director of Medieval Studies, Fordham University.