Role of Woman in Middle Ages, The

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Those interested in both the present day role of woman and its historical evolution will find this work an informative and valuable introduction to the topic. Focusing on the actual position woman held in medieval society and on the surprisingly diverse representations of her position in literature and the visual arts, the six essays collected in this volume reflect concern with the development of her role from classical antiquity and oral, illiterative communities on the one hand, to Renaissance society on the other. Specialists in different fields examine the complexities of topics such as the direct relationship between the longevity of woman and the value society confers upon her; the changing functions of woman in illiterate, pre-literate, and literate society; the sophisticated portrayal of woman in the courtly romances; the implications of man’s perception of woman as aesthetic and personal ideal bridging seemingly irreconcilable conflicts; woman’s conscious assumption of an active role in the political and cultural life of her time; and the often caricatured, yet nonetheless sympathetic portrayal of woman in the margins of gothic manuscripts.

The interdisciplinary approach followed in these essays allows the reader interested in a wholistic approach to trace concurrent developments over a long span of time from various perspectives. The approach also invites the attention of specialists in medieval social history, economics, art history, the heroic epic and the courtly romance, Petrarchism, and the transition from late medieval to early French Renaissance literature. The essays represent papers delivered at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies on The Role of the Woman in the Middle Ages.
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About the author

Rosmarie Thee Morewedge, the editor of this collection and Coordinator of the Sixth Annual Conference, is Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages & Literatures at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
195
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ISBN
9781438413563
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
History / Social History
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Despite the wealth of scholarship in recent decades on medieval women, we still know much less about the experiences of women in the early Middle Ages than we do about those in later centuries. In Women and Aristocratic Culture in the Carolingian World, Valerie L. Garver offers a fresh appraisal of the cultural and social history of eighth- and ninth-century women. Examining changes in women's lives and in the ways others perceived women during the early Middle Ages, she shows that lay and religious women, despite their legal and social constrictions, played integral roles in Carolingian society.

Garver's innovative book employs an especially wide range of sources, both textual and material, which she uses to construct a more complex and nuanced impression of aristocratic women than we've seen before. She looks at the importance of female beauty and adornment; the family and the construction of identities and collective memory; education and moral exemplarity; wealth, hospitality and domestic management; textile work, and the lifecycle of elite Carolingian women.

Her interdisciplinary approach makes deft use of canons of church councils, chronicles, charters, polyptychs, capitularies, letters, poetry, exegesis, liturgy, inventories, hagiography, memorial books, artworks, archaeological remains, and textiles. Ultimately, Women and Aristocratic Culture in the Carolingian World underlines the centrality of the Carolingian era to the reshaping of antique ideas and the development of lasting social norms.

Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August—once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.
 
The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”
 
Praise for A Distant Mirror
 
“Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.”—The New York Review of Books
 
“A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.”—Commentary

NOTE: This edition does not include color images.
The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors Rome called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling an Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. A leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians, Heather relates the extraordinary story of how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the empire apart. He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire. This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees. The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse, culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival. Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians.
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