Synopses & Reviews
"It is impossible / That any clerk wol speke good of wyves." Behind the words of Chaucer's Wife of Bath lies a vast corpus of medieval misogynistic writings. These texts, which range from those of the Church Fathers to a rich array of vernacular literature, have had a profound effect on the status of women in the West. Despite the recent surge of investigations into women's situation, however, no one book has sought to collect the key voices of medieval antifeminism, let alone to present the voices sometimes raised, even at that epoch, in defence of women. This new volume meets the urgent need for a single and substantial sourcebook of these materials in modern translation, including an introduction, notes, and commentary. The accessibility of the better-known texts here (from Jerome to Walter Map; from Héloise and Abelard to Christine de Pizan and Chaucer) will be welcomed by those engaged in medieval and women's studies; the lesser-known writings concerning, for instance, the sexual "double standard", and women and the priesthood, will provide unexpected discoveries for specialists and beginners alike. The book also features a surprising range of early texts championing women--including material never previously available in translation.
"An essential compendium of primary sources, until now inaccessible to undergraduates. Should be a permanent addition to any syllabus in feminist studies of the Medieval/Renaissance period."--Eunice D. Howe, University of Southern California
"[A] fascinating anthology....All the selections in Woman Defamed are presented in clear, modern English, including many new translations by Blamires. Each entry is helpfully accompanied by a brief editorial note about the author and the work....A tremendous repository of reference material....A steady, cumulative reading of the anti-feminist tracts in Woman Defamed is an opportunity to peer into the distant past and find it disturbingly familiar....The chief contribution of Blamires' anthology is to expose the sources of our misogynistic inheritance to the clear sun of readable English."--Women's Review of Books
"An excellent anthology--thorough and clearly organized, with useful notes--which I would expect to become a standard adjunct to courses in medieval and woman's studies."--Suzanne Rahn, Pacific Lutheran University
"A splendid volume. Contains so many of the resources which have hitherto been scattered through hard-to-find editions, all now nicely gathered and scrupulously presented. A real treasurehouse for understanding the complexities of medieval ideas of gender."--Roy M. Luizza, Tulane University
"The selections are tremendously useful."--Linda Marie Zaerr, Boise State University
This sourcebook of texts in modern translation makes accessible key anti-feminist works, together with a surprising range of early texts championing women.