Siria's Reviews > Women's Monasticism and Medieval Society: Nunneries in France and England, 890 1215

Women's Monasticism and Medieval Society by Bruce L. Venarde
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Jan 09, 11

bookshelves: british-history, european-history, french-history, history, nonfiction, religious-history, womens-history
Read from November 26, 2010 to January 09, 2011

Probably the most useful part of this book is the Appendix which furnishes a list about 850 known women's monastic foundations in England and France between 400 and 1350—useful, even if some of the statistical decisions Venarde makes could be queried. Venarde is good at synthesising documentation, particularly charters, into a narrative whole. However, his concluding point that women religious were a part of mainstream religious developments during the High Middle Ages is somewhat undermined by weak comparison and contextualisation, and by a continued emphasis by Venarde on men as the instigators for changing forms of women's piety. Venarde writes that he is attempting to examine women's piety on its own terms—and yet, by not looking at the interstices of male and female religiosity, he seems to obscure the development of women religious just that little bit more. Useful, but flawed.
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