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Sovereign lady: essays on women in Middle English literature ..

Fifteenth-century England is justly famous, even infamous, for the composition, patronage, and translation of what I'd like to classify thematically as "the literature of statecraft": guides for the education and conduct of kings and princes, chivalric manuals and romances, and treatises on the martial arts. Moreover, although women have long been identified as readers of medieval romance and occasionally—as in the case of Christine de Pizan—as translators of handbooks on war and governance, female readers have rarely been seen as important audiences for this material on secular governance. Yet records of book ownership and patronage indicate that royal, noble, and gentry women owned, commissioned, and bequeathed works such as Vegetius's The Epitome of Military Science, the De Regimine principum, and the pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum Secretorum, all guides for the education of princes that circulated widely in various redactions, adaptations, and translations, throughout and beyond the Middle Ages and achieved their most celebrated expression as Machiavelli's The Prince. Medieval women read, commissioned, and taught their children from this material: manuals of knighthood, chivalric romances, and numerous versions of the Troy histories, which were widely used as a reference point for contemporary political events. Some of the women associated with these texts include: Mary and Eleanor Bohun, Elizabeth de Burgh, Clemencia of Hungary, Margaret of Anjou, Elizabeth Peche, Alice Chaucer, Joan Neville, Marguerite of Burgundy, Mary Hastings Hungerford, Anne Colville, Anne Scrope, Elizabeth Berkeley, and Anne Paston. In Women, Reading, and Piety in Late Medieval England, Mary Erler notes that "no comprehensive effort has yet been mounted to trace the survival of secular texts owned by women . . . [and] it is difficult to see how such a study would proceed." This essay, part of a larger study of women and discourses of governance in late medieval England, suggests that a [End Page 53] history of women's secular reading practices should begin with a reexamination of female participation in courtly culture, where, as Hilda Smith argues, "women fared better . . . than in more strictly academic . . . institutions." Women's participation in courtly culture can be seen as both direct and diffuse. If medieval households, both elite and humble, functioned for their inhabitants and communities as religious centers, they also worked as what we might call "micro-polities," in which governance of a variety of sorts took place. Some of this governance was performed by women. To explore this phenomenon, we should read historical accounts of courtly women alongside the more commonly studied representations of stylized courtly ladies in medieval literature. Women practiced imitatio reginae with the kinds of fervor that animated their performance of imitatio virginis.

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Sovereign lady: essays on women in Middle English literature

Sovereign Lady: Essays on Women in Middle English Literature.

Sovereign Lady: Essays on Women in Middle English Literature

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Børresen, Kari Elisabeth and Kari Vogt. Women's Studies of the Christian and Islamic Traditions: Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Foremothers. Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1993. (Swasey BT704 .B63 1993)

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Chance, Jane. "Speaking in Propria Persona: Authorizing the Subject as a Political Act in Late Medieval Feminine Spirituality." New Trends in Feminine Spirituality: The Holy Women of Liège and Their Impact. Ed. Juliette Dor et al. Turnhout: Brepols, 1999. (Robbins and Swasey BX2350.65 .N49 1999)

Cholmeley, Katharine. Margery Kempe, Genius and Mystic. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1947. (Stacks PR2007 .K32Zc) Cleve, Gunnel. "Semantic Dimensions in Margery Kempe's 'Whyght Clothys.'" Mystics Quarterly 12 (1986): 162-170. (Robbins and Swasey Periodicals; Stacks BV5077 .G7 A13)

Collis, Louise. The Apprentice Saint. London: M. Joseph, 1964. (Robbins PR2007 .K327co)

-----. Memoires of a Medieval Woman: The Life and the Times of Margery Kempe. New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1983. (Robbins PR2007 .K4 Z72 1983)

Delaney, Sheila. "Sexual Economics, Chaucer's Wife of Bath, and The Book of Margery Kempe." The Minnesota Review 5 (1975): 104-15. (Stacks AP2 .M66)

Dickman, Susan. "Margery Kempe and the Continental Tradition of the Pious Woman." The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Papers Read at Dartington Hall, July 1984. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1984. (Robbins BV5077 .G7 E94 1984)

Dillon, Janette. "The Making of Desire in The Book of Margery Kempe." Leeds Studies in English 26 (1995): 113-144. (Stacks PE1 .L48)

Dillon, Janette. "Margery Kempe's Sharp Confessor/s." Leeds Studies in English 27 (1996): 131-138. (Stacks PE1 .L48)

Ellis, Deborah S. "The Merchant's Wife's Tale: Language, Sex, and Commerce in Margery Kempe and in Chaucer." Exemplaria 2 (1990): 595-626. (Robbins Periodicals)

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Fanous, Samuel. "Measuring the Pilgrim's Progress: Internal Emphases in The Book of Margery Kempe." Writing Religious Women: Female Spiritual and Textual Practices in Late Medieval England. Eds. Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. (Robbins PR275 .R4 W74 2000)

Farley, Mary Hardiman. "Her Own Creature: Religion, Feminist Criticism, and the Functional Eccentricity of Margery Kempe." Exemplaria 11 (1999): 1-21. (Robbins Periodicals)

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Gibson, Gail McMurray. "St. Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe." Equally in God's Image: Women in the Middle Ages. Eds. Julia Bolton Holloway and Constance S. Wright. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. (Robbins and Swasey HQ1143 .E68 1990)

Glenn, Cheryl. "Reexamining The Book of Margery Kempe: A Rhetoric of Autobiography." Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition. Ed. Andrea A. Lunsford. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995. (Stacks P301 .R346 1995)

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Harding, Wendy. "Body into Text: The Book of Margery Kempe." Feminist Approaches to the Body in Medieval Literature. Eds. Linda Lomperis and Sarah Stanbury. Philadelphia: University of Pennylvania Press, 1993. (Robbins and Stacks PN682 .W6 F37 1993)

Harding, Wendy. "Medieval Women's Unwritten Discourse on Motherhood: A Reading of Two Fifteenth-Century Texts." Women's Studies 21 (1992): 197-209. (Stacks HQ1101 .W77)

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Hirsch, John C. "Margery Kempe." Middle English Prose: A Critical Guide to Major Authors and Genres. Ed. A.S.G. Edwards. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1984. (Robbins and Stacks PR255 .M52 1984)

Hirsh, John C. The Revelations of Margery Kempe: Paramystical Practices in Late Medieval England. New York: E.J. Brill, 1989. (Robbins and Swasey PR2007.K4 Z74 1989)

Holbrook, Sue Ellen. "'About Her': Margery Kempe's Book of Feeling and Working." The Idea of Medieval Literature. Eds. James M. Dean and Christian K. Zacher. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1992. (Robbins PR1924 .I34 1992)

Holbrook, Sue Ellen. "Margery Kempe and Wynkyn de Worde." The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Papers Read at Dartington Hall, July 1987: Exeter Symposium IV. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1987. (Robbins BV5077 .G7 E94 1987)

Holsinger, Bruce Wood. "The Flesh of the Voice: Embodiment and the Homoerotics of Devotion in the Music of Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 19 (1993): 92-125. (Stacks HQ1101 .S5)

Hopenwasser, Nanda and Signe Wegener. "Vox Matris: The Influence of St. Birgitta's Revelations on The Book of Margery Kempe: St. Birgitta and Margery Kempe as Wives and Mothers." Crossing the Bridge: Comparative Essays on Medieval European and Heian Japanese Women Writers. Barbara Stevenson and Cynthia Ho, eds.. New York: Palgrave, 2000. (Stacks PN471 .C67 2000)

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Johnson, Lynn Staley. "The Trope of the Scribe and the Question of Literary Authority in the Works of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe." Speculum 66 (1991): 820-38. (Robbins Periodicals; Stacks CB350 .S741; Sibley PN1 .S741; Internet access available through JSTOR)

Johnson, M.K. "'No Bananas, Giraffes, or Elephants': Margery Kempe's Text of Bliss." Women's Studies 21 (1992): 185-96. (Stacks HQ1101 .W77)

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Wright, Michael J. "What They Said to Margery Kempe: Narrative Reliability in Her Book." Neophilologus 79 (1995): 497-508. (Stacks PB5 .N43)

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Sovereign Lady: Essays on Women in Middle English ..

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