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' ... it is impossible / That any clerk wol speke good of wyves.' Behind the words of Chaucer's Wife of Bath lies a vast corpus of medieval misogynistic writings. These texts, which range from those of the Church Fathers to a rich array of vernacular literature, have had a profound influence on the status of women in the west.
Yet, despite the recent surge of investigations into women's situation, no one book has sought to collect together the key voices of medieval antifeminism, let alone to present the voices sometimes raised, even at that epoch, in defence of women. The urgent need for a single and substantial sourcebook of these materials in modern translation is met for the first time in this volume, which includes an introduction, notes, and commentary. The accessibility of the better-known texts here (from Jerome to Walter Map; from Heloise and Abelard to Christine de Pizan and Chaucer) will be welcomed by those engaged in medieval and women's studies; the lesser-known writings concerning for instance the sexual 'double standard', and women and the priesthood, will provide unexpected discoveries for specialists and beginners alike. Indeed, a surprising range of early texts championing women - including material never previously available in translation - is here represented.
All those concerned with women's studies and with medieval and later culture (European as well as English) will find Woman Defamed and Woman Defended fascinating to read as well as a useful resource.
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Alcuin Blamires is at St David's University College, Lampeter, University of Wales.Review:
"An essential compendium of primary sources, until now inaccessible to undergraduates. Should be a permanent addition to any syllabus in feminist studies of the Medieval/Renaissance period."--Eunice D. Howe, University of Southern California
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Book Description Oxford University Press. Condition: Good. Ex-library, so some stamps and wear, and may have sticker on cover, but in good overall condition. Seller Inventory # Z1-I-028-00800