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The Letters of the Rozmberk Sisters

The Letters of the Rozmberk Sisters: Noblewomen in Fifteenth-Century Bohemia

John M. Klassen
Eva Doležalová
Lynn Szabo
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    The Letters of the Rozmberk Sisters
    Book Description:

    The letters of the Rozmberk sisters, Perchta and Anézka, give a vivid insight into how medieval women viewed themselves. Perchta's letters inform her father that his choice of a husband for her has caused her desperate sadness and sorrow in which death seems a better alternative. Despite her unhappiness and her almost total dependence on others, however, Perchta undertook to take control of her own fate and to improve the circumstances of her life. Her letters were the means whereby she informed her father and brothers of her misery and persuaded them to take action, and in the process they tell us about her expectations of respect and companionship in marriage. The letters of both sisters show them to be women with a vigorous sense of their own dignity and offer insights into the hopes and disappointments, joys and vexations of fifteenth-century women. The letters also introduce theenvironment and the activities of daily castle life, and offer an intimate picture of family life in the fifteenth century.JOHN M. KLASSEN is Professor of History at Trinity Western University, Canada. He was assisted in the translations by EVA DOLEZALOVA, Historical Institue, Prague, and LYNN SZABO, Trinity Western University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-105-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    John M. Klassen
  5. Introduction The Rožmberk Family in Fifteenth-Century Bohemia
    (pp. 1-26)

    The home of the Rožmberk family was a realm of politics, economics, and culture, as well as a space for nurturing of personal and social bonds between brothers and sister. The correspondence of Perchta and Anéžka reveals not only two self-assured sisters, but a strong family of a father and children whose mother died while they were young. The siblings shared domestic space as they grew up under the supervision of a politically involved father to whom they were free to express affection and their most intimate secrets, before whom they could bring their anger and disappointments as well as...

  6. The Correspondence of Perchta and Anéžka of Rožmberk ca. 1448–1488
    (pp. 27-98)

    Let this letter be given to the noble lord Lord Henry of Rožmberk, our dear brother.

    We send you our prayers, noble lord, dear brother, and we thank Your Grace very much for the greetings in the packet, and especially for the welcome word that you are returning to us this Shrovetide. Yet everyone looks on the gloomy side² [saying] that you will not come. Despite this, we continue to believe that you will not betray us, because if you don’t come, those greetings in the packet do not mean anything. And sister says that the big ox always milks...

  7. Interpretive Essay Self and Family in the Letters of Perchta of Rožmberk
    (pp. 99-128)

    The letters of the Rožmberk sisters are above all important for the light they shed on the lives of two self-assured noble-women. The more abundant letters of Perchta illustrate sharply how she coped with unhappiness within a social and cultural context which required females to devalue themselves and submit their wills to those of males. At first glance Perchta appears ineffective and her letters reveal a society and a culture in which women basically have no power whatsoever. Power can, however, be seen as something that comes and goes in a person’s life, and as something even the weakest of...

  8. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 129-132)
  9. Index
    (pp. 133-134)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 135-135)