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Medieval Women and Their Objects (Hardcover)

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The essays in Medieval Women and Their Objects present multifaceted considerations of the intersection of objects and gender within the cultural contexts of late medieval France and England. Some take a material view of objects, showing buildings, books, and pictures as sites of gender negotiation and resistance and as extensions of women’s bodies. Others reconsider the concept of objectification in the lives of medieval women—either fictional or historical—by looking closely at their relation to gendered material objects, taken literally as women’s possessions and as figurative manifestations of their desires.
Essays in the opening section consider how medieval authors imagined fictional and legendary women using particular objects in ways that reinforce or challenge gender roles. These women bring objects into the orbit of gender identity, using and relating to them in a literal sense, while also taking advantage of their symbolic meanings. The second section focuses on the use of texts both as objects in their own right and as mechanisms by which other objects are defined. The possessors of objects in these essays lived in the world, their lives documented by historical records, yet like their fictional and legendary counterparts, they too used objects for instrumental ends and with symbolic resonances. Contributors to the final section consider the objectification of medieval women’s bodies as well as its limits. While objectification at times seems to allow for a trade in women, authorial attempts to give definitive shapes and boundaries to women’s bodies either complicate the very gender boundaries they are trying to contain or reduce gender into an ideological abstraction.

Number of Pages: 294
Genre: History
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Univ of Michigan Pr
Language: English
Street Date: November 29, 2016
TCIN: 52256734
UPC: 9780472130146
Item Number (DPCI): 248-44-4065
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