Advertisement

Introduction: Setting the Scene

  • Charlotte Newman Goldy
  • Amy Livingstone
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Who among us is not drawn to a novel or a well-written biography? Whether it is the narrative form of telling a life story or the reader’s ability to think about the subject’s inner life and relationships, these are clearly the most enduring and popular forms of writing. Yet medieval historians seldom have enough information to write a biography. The lacunae in our sources present an even greater challenge for the writing of medieval women’s history. The historians in this collection are seeking to expand the ways we examine and write about medieval women. They are interested in the great and the obscure, and in women from different times and places. The contributors all attempt to get closer to the life as lived, personified in individual stories, to understand the aspects of living in the past that were rarely “recorded.” At the same time, they struggle to balance the desire to recover the personal with the rigors of archival scholarship and grounded historical analysis. As such, the chapters in this volume prompt us to rethink what we can know about women, how we can know it, and how we can write about them to expand our insights.

Keywords

Religious Woman Peasant Family Elite Woman Peasant Woman Medieval Historian 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Susan Mosher Stuard, ed., Women in Medieval History and Historiography (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988). This is a wonderful, if dated, analysis of the historiography of medieval women.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Eileen Power, Medieval English Nunneries, c. 1275–1535 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1922). This book has been recently reissued in 2010.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Eileen Power, Medieval People (London: Dover Publications, 2000). This volume was originally published in 1928 and has been reissued multiple times.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Eileen Power, “The Position of Women,” in The Legacy of the Middle Ages, ed., G. C. Crump and E. F. Jacob (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1926), pp. 401–433; and Medieval Women, ed. M. M. Postan (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Doris Mary Stenton, The English Woman in History (London, 1957).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For examples, see Penelope Johnson, Equal in Monastic Profession: Religious Women in Medieval France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 6.
    Penny Schine Gold, The Lady and the Virgin: Image, Attitude and Experience in Twelfth-Century France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 6.
    Barbara A. Hanawalt, The Wealth of Wives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  9. Jo Ann McNamara and Suzanne Wemple, “The Power of Women through the Family, 500–1101,” Feminist Studies 1 (1973): 126–142.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski, eds., Women and Power in the Middle Ages (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988), pp. 83–101.Google Scholar
  11. 7.
    Jo Ann McNamara revisited the issues she and Wemple discussed in this article in “Women and Power through the Family Revisited,” in Gendering the Master Narrative: Women and Power in the Middle Ages, ed. Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski, pp. 17–30 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  12. 8.
    Judith M. Bennett, Ale, Beer and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World. 1300–1600 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  13. 8.
    Sharon A. Farmer, Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology, and the Daily Lives of the Poor (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002)Google Scholar
  14. 8.
    Philadelphia Ricketts, “Widows, Religious Patronage and Family Identity: Some Cases from Twelfth-Century Yorkshire,” The Haskins Society Journal 14 (2004): 117–136. This methodology has proven useful for examining all sorts of medieval people. Indeed, Medieval Prosopography, a journal dedicated to collective biography was founded in the 1970s, and has published many works on the history of medieval women.Google Scholar
  15. 10.
    Barbara Hanawalt, The Ties that Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)Google Scholar
  16. 10.
    David Nicholas, The Domestic Life of a Medieval City: Women, Children, and the Family in Fourteenth-Century Ghent (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985)Google Scholar
  17. 10.
    Theodore Evergates, The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100–1300 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  18. 10.
    Lois Hunneycutt, Matilda of Scotland: A Study in Medieval Queenship (Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2003)Google Scholar
  19. 10.
    John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  20. 10.
    Miriam Shadis, Berenguela of Castile and Political Women in the High Middle Ages (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 10.
    John Carmi Parsons also edited two early essay collections on these topics: Medieval Queenship (New York: St. Martins Press, 1993) and Medieval Mothering (New York: Garland Publishing, 1996) with Bonnie Wheeler.Google Scholar
  22. 11.
    Margaret Wade Labarge, A Baronial Household in the Thirteenth Century (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1965)Google Scholar
  23. 11.
    Fredric L. Cheyette, Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007)Google Scholar
  24. 11.
    Marjorie Chibnall, The Empress Matilda: Queen Consort, Queen Mother, and Lady of the English (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991)Google Scholar
  25. 11.
    Kimberly A. LoPrete, Adela of Blois, Countess and Lord (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007)Google Scholar
  26. 11.
    Amy Livingstone, Out of Love for My Kin: Aristocratic Family Life in the Lands of the Loire (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010)Google Scholar
  27. 11.
    Theresa Earenfight, The King’s Other Body: Maria of Castile and the Crown of Aragon (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009)Google Scholar
  28. 11.
    Linda E. Mitchell, Portraits of Medieval Women: Family, Marriage and Politics in England. 1225–1350 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003)Google Scholar
  29. 11.
    Katherine L. French, The Good Women of the Parish: Gender and Religion after the Black Death (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 12.
    Janet L. Nelson “Did Charlemagne have a Private Life?” in Writing Medieval Biography 750–1250: Essays in Honour of Professor Frank Barlow, ed. David Bates, Julia Crick, and Sarah Hamilton (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006), p. 17.Google Scholar
  31. 13.
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, The Age of Homespun (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001).Google Scholar
  32. 15.
    Barbara A. Hanawalt in Growing up in Medieval London (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995) critically revived this technique often used poorly by antiquarians.Google Scholar
  33. 16.
    Natalie Zemon Davis, Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  34. 16.
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary, 1785–1812 (New York: Knopf, 1990).Google Scholar
  35. 17.
    Judith M. Bennett, A Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock, c. 1297–1344 (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998).Google Scholar
  36. 18.
    David Gary Shaw, Necessary Conjunctions: The Social Self in Medieval England (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2005), p. 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Charlotte Newman Goldy and Amy Livingstone 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Newman Goldy
  • Amy Livingstone

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations