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The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse (MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching)
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The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse (MART: The Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The life of Christina of Markyate, a twelfth-century english recluse and later abbess of Markyate near St Albans, is a remarkable example of late medieval hagiography. Originally written at the time of or soon after Christina's death in the twelfth century, the Lift is unusual both in its relative lack of miracles, and in the unknown author's decision to write Christina's ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published May 16th 1998 by University of Toronto Press (first published 1998)
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Christina's vita, or biography, is perhaps one of the most compelling accounts which we have of a twelfth century European woman. The anonymous author, probably a monk at St Albans, seems to have known Christina personally, which gives the text a very vivid quality—there are few of the common tropes of vitae here, but rather lots of distinctive anecdotes like the time Christina heard Jesus' voice telling her to give away the abbot's underpants to the poor, or the time she spent hours hanging fro ...more
Mar 31, 2015 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very interesting life of a priory founder and religious woman in 12th century Britain. Despite pressure from nobility, she charted her own course. “Christina’s marriage to Beorhtred, and its subsequent dissolution, lay to rest two ghosts that have long stalked discussions about the lives of medieval women. The first is the assumption that daughters were a nuisance best dumped in a nunnery; in Christina’s case this is the one thing her parents very explicitly did not want—such a li ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Kristen rated it it was amazing
Pretty interesting, for a saint's life. There are a lot of small details that make the narrative more exciting. Christina's relationships with her male friends are also quite interesting.

I read this for my medieval women's lit class; it was one of the more engaging works we read.
Oct 06, 2015 Morgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A genuinely interesting text let down by a poor edition. My main gripe is that, although readers are made aware that parts of the text are missing, when it is made clear that a part of the text is missing, there is no indication of how much the editors believe to be missing. Although it may be unknown how much is missing from the body of the text, an indication of this would have been much appreciated. In addition, while interesting, the introduction would have greatly benefitted from more conte ...more
Jul 21, 2016 Briana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read Oct. 30-31, 2011.


I'm always tempted to go off on an academic tangent about medieval texts. How does this compare to other vitae? What's historically interesting about it? How should we interpret it? However, I realize that the majority of my audience is not comprised of people particularly interested in medieval literature, which leads me to the most pressing question: Will this book be engaging for those without an established academic interest in the topic? I think it can be.
Interesting look at one women's life in England in the 1000s. More factual than the typical hagiography.
Jan 13, 2009 junia marked it as gave-up  ·  review of another edition
read it for St. Alban's Psalter for Medieval Literature.

oh just shoot me in the eye won't you?
Aug 29, 2009 Kim added it
yes it is meant to be taken literaly.
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