The phenomenon of medieval women's middle age is a stage in the lifecycle that has been frequently overlooked in preference for the examination of female youth and old age. The essays collected here, ranging from the Anglo-Saxon to the late medieval period, and drawing variously from literary studies, history, law, art and theology, address this lacuna. Taking a variety of critical approaches, the contributors consider medieval definitions, paradigms and experiences of female middle age, analysing how the middle-aged woman perceived herself subjectively, as well as how she was perceived by others. They seek to challenge the received wisdom that in the middle ages, at forty, women were deemed "old" and, from that point onwards, their thoughts should be focused on preparing for death. On the contrary, this collection demonstrates their energy, defiance and wit. Sue Niebrzydowski is Lecturer in English, Bangor University, Wales. Contributors: Jane Geddes, Clare A. Lees, Carol M. Meale, Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker, Sue Niebrzydowski, Raluca L Radulescu, Sara Elin Roberts, Corinne Saunders, Diane Watt.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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