Medieval Women's Visionary Literature

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9780195037111: Medieval Women's Visionary Literature

These pages capture a thousand years of devotional and visionary writing by medieval women. The writers come from all different backgrounds and traditions, and they include founders of religious communities, hermits and recluses, wives and mothers, wandering teachers, heretics and reformers. What they all had in common was a belief that they had been chosen to speak, and here we have the evidence of their visions and experiences of the divine.

Covering a span of time from late antiquity to the 15th century, the writings include examples of lyric poetry, drama (including the first play written by a woman), epics, saints' lives, and letters. as well as some newly invented genres such as the spiritual autobiography, the guide to prayer, progression of visions, and in Inquisition depositions. A new portrait of the female writer in the Middle Ages emerges, a more accurate portrait than was ever before possible, as many of these texts have either been out of print or are here translated for the first time. We see women writers of the Middle Ages doing what they did best: writing devotional, visionary, and erotic literature from a very personal viewpoint, and what they say to the modern reader has much to do with nature of creativity and the creative experience of women.

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About the Author:

ELIZABETH A. PETROFF has translated Latin, Italian, and French writings by medieval women

Review:

"...an early (and very influential) contribution to a new field of scholarship about the Christian tradition....Elizabeth Petroff has done more to make the remarkable spiritual writings of medieval women accessible to modern English-speaking readers than any other scholar. Her 1986 book,
Medieval Women's Visionary Literature...has become a classic of classroom use in courses about both the Middle Ages and women and religion....Petroff's prefatory material has guided the introduction of many students to the spiritual traditions of women in the Middle Ages."--E. Ann Matter (University
of Pennsylvania) in Christian Spirituality Bulletin

"The breadth of this volume makes it uniquely valuable as a means for including the voices of women in the subject matter of a survey course in the history of christianity."--John Coakley, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

"Provides access to many texts of women previously neglected and offers an outstanding synthesis of themes in this literature."--Ellen Murray, St. Louis University

"An immensely useful volume filling many of the gaps still found in texts of medieval women writers. A judicious and sensative selection."--Nancy P. Stork, Stanford University

"The reader receives a vivid sense of the historical circumstances in which medieval women lived and wrote. Very useful introductions prepare one not only for the entire book, but for each of the nine sections, and an excellent and extensive bibliography is appended....An outstanding text for
a course in medieval literature or history of religion; it should certainly have a place of honor on the shelves of Women's Studies classes."--Vox Benedictina

"A good example of the role that translation can play in broadening our view of the Christian past....A judicious and wide-ranging survey."--Commonweal

"The introduction and commentary by the editor discuss the different issues brought up by these varied selections and help the modern reader to understand them more easily."--Manuscripta

"A marvelous, original, and much needed collection of texts."--Virginia Reinburg, Boston College

"Excellent collection of materials not easily available. Students appreciate the primary sources!"--Joan H. Timmerman, College of St. Catherine

"Will be welcomed by church historians, feminists, and teachers of spirituality. By rendering accessible to English-speaking readers the variety and continuity of women's religious expression, it establishes women as co-creators of the Western Christian tradition."--Choice

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