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Women Making Memories: Liturgy and the Remembering Female Body in Medieval Holy Women’s Texts

Women Making Memories: Liturgy and the Remembering Female Body in Medieval Holy Women’s Texts

Objective

Women Making Memories: Liturgy and the Remembering Female Body in Medieval Holy Women’s Texts

Devout women from medieval Europe knew the words, sounds, sights, and movements of the Divine Office and Mass by heart: references to sensations and gendered discourses produced by the liturgy abound in female-authored (auto)biographies and visionary texts (1300-1500). This Oxford-based project argues that these medieval women writers strategically appropriate liturgical memoria (memory arts), that is, what and how the liturgy taught women to remember. Combining close-reading and historical contextualization, this study examines twelve works from the British Isles, Low Countries and German territories through the prism of medieval thought on embodied cognition to uncover how early women authors transform liturgical memory arts, and how these holy women thus respond to and interrogate the liturgy’s numerous discourses on the body, gender, and self and Other.

The project will benefit from presentation and collaboration opportunities at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), focusing on mysticism, memory and literature. Furthermore, Professor Henrike Lähnemann, an authority on medieval spirituality, will mentor the researcher.

Driven by a feminist impulse, this uniquely international, comparative analysis of texts in Middle English, Middle Dutch and Middle High German introduces Anglophone scholars and the general public to little-known Continental texts and reveals European parallels and interactions between texts and writers. Simultaneously, it enhances Oxford’s, the United Kingdom’s and Europe’s knowledge base on British and Continental women’s literary inventiveness, ultimately amplifying medieval women’s voices and illuminating their significance to Europe’s cultural and spiritual heritage.
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Coordinator

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Address

Wellington Square University Offices
Ox1 2jd Oxford

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 212 933,76

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 842443

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 September 2019

  • End date

    31 August 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 212 933,76

  • EU contribution

    € 212 933,76

Coordinated by:

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

United Kingdom