The Speculum Virginum and Traditions of Medieval Dialogue

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


This chapter situates the Speculum virginum within the broader context of dialogue literature in the twelfth century. The genre was employed to provide instruction in a wide range of subjects.The Speculum is unusual, however, in that it adapts a literary technique normally employed to instruct boys and young men to an extended dialogue between a spiritual guide and his female disciple. Seen in this light, the Speculum emerges as a work of great creative originality that applies the questioning technique of scholastic literature to discussing the religious life for women in an unusually vivid way.


Pastoral Care Religious Life Twelfth Century Dialogue Form Spiritual Guide 
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Copyright information

© Constant J. Mews 2001

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  • Sabina Flanagan

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