Module Identifier ENM1220  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Semester Intended For Use In Future Years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Dr Diane Watt  
Course delivery Seminar   2 hours per week  
Assessment Essay   1 x 5,000 word essay    

Recent scholarship has recovered a great deal of previously neglected medieval women's writing. Spiritual texts (often of an autobiographical nature) make up perhaps three quarters of this material, but some early secular works also exist. The aim of this module is not only to introduce a selection of early women's literature, but also to examine the often problematic circumstances of its production. The whole spectrum of writing will be considered, from personal meditations and prayers to biographies and romances. Topics covered will include: representations of women; the anti-feminist tradition and defences of women; women's exclusion from history and from the literary canon; definitions of 'women's writing'; women's style; representations and self-representations of women; the anti-feminist tradition and defences of women; women and religion; feminine piety; and women in medieval society.

1. Women's Literary History: the Medieval Phase

Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own", Janet Todd, "Feminist Literary History" (Chapter 1); Alexandra Barratt, "Women's
Writing in the Middle English" (Introduction).

2. A Cell of One's Own

Julian of Norwich: "A Revelation of Love; The Book of Margery Kempe"; "A Revelation of Purgatory".

3. Women Writing Fiction

Marie de France's "Lais" and "Fables".

4. The First Professional Woman Writer

Christine de Pisan: "The Epistle of Othea"; "The Body of Policy"; "The Book of the City of Ladies"; "The Treasure of the City
of Ladies"; "Ditie de Jehanne d'Arc".

5. Traslating Authority and the Problems of 'Non-Literary' and Anonymous Texts

Dame Eleanor Hull, "The Seven Psalms and Meditations"; Lady Margaret Beaufort, "The Imitation of Christ" and "The Mirror
of Gold to the Sinful Soul"; religious lyrics by women, the Paston letters, "The Assembly of Ladies", "The Flower and the Leaf",
"The Owl and the Nightingale", anonymous secular poetry.

Primary Reading

Alexandra Barratt (ed), "Women's Writing in Middle English" (London, 1982)