Saturday, June 20, 2009

Medieval Women & Literacy

Excellent post by Bavardess - Medieval women & the myth of illiteracy:
An intriguing manuscript recently surfaced in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples that sheds new light on the reading abilities and habits of women in late medieval England. The manuscript, which was serendipitously unearthed by Canadian scholar James Weldon while he was looking for something else entirely, has attracted some attention from the mainstream media*. This article rather flippantly describes the manuscript as a ‘medieval women’s magazine’, composed as it is of a varied collection of ‘articles’ (if you will) on topics of supposed feminine interest – as the subhead puts it, ‘Canadian researcher discovers historic document filled with romance and recipes’. The anthology is written in Middle English and includes extracts from a variety of different sources, including medicinal recipes, household tips, romances and a saint's life.

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