Madeline's Reviews > Constructions of Widowhood and Virginity in the Middle Ages

Constructions of Widowhood and Virginity in the Middle Ages by Angela Jane Weisl
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's review
Dec 16, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: library-books, non-fiction, women, 2011, lit-crit, books-about-books, history
Read from January 05 to 13, 2011 , read count: 1

Okay, I'll admit to not being the target audience for this collection of essays (not a medievalist - my interest in the Middle Ages is mostly ~historical), but I have the required skills to read jargon-heavy literary criticism. And also to question the jargon. And I am interested in, you know, Women - so I thought this collection would be good! I guess it was not bad. However, I do think it was odd that so many of these papers just meandered all over the place without producing a coherent point or argument, and then tried to pull it together at the end (I am an undergraduate, so I sympathize, but really). Also, there is this one essay which argues that by referring to herself as male Christine de Pizan successfully degenders her work and also seems to argue that this allows her to completely ignore the gender roles in the Middle Ages - and, you know . . . not so much. (I know you what you are thinking! You are thinking: Has Naomi Zack branched out into feminist medieval literary criticism? The answer is apparently no . . . )

Anyway, intriguing ideas, not enough follow-through. I think I liked the essay on the Katherine group, and also on misogynistic/subversive constructions of widows - but I am kind of exhausted and trying to adjust to a new time zone now so I may be misremembering the pleasant details.

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Reading Progress

01/10/2011 page 181
01/12/2011 page 221
77.0% "These essays are extremely hit or miss."

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