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Title: Constructing gender and locality in late medieval England : the lives of Anglo-Saxon and British female saints in the South English Legendaries
Author: Kanno, Mami
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 1060
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines the construction of gender and locality in late medieval England through the lives of Anglo-Saxon and British female saints in the South English Legendaries (SELS). Focusing on a distinctive characteristic of the SELS, the inclusion of native saints, it examines a group of native female saints in the British Isles, who appear in the fourteenth and fifteenth-century manuscripts of the SELS. All female saints covered in this study were monastic women, who were nuns and abbesses, from various parts of England and Wales, living between the seventh and tenth centuries. The thesis, consisting of five chapters, explores the vitae of these saints in turn, namely Frideswide of Oxford, Æthelthryth of Ely, Mildred of Minster-in- Thanet, Edburga of Winchester, and Winifred of Gwytherin, focusing on topics distinctive to each vita. Through reading their vitae, this study aims to shed light on aspects of gender, and particularly virginity, of these medieval female saints, analysing various literary motifs such as enclosure, incorrupt bodies, and danger of rape. By comparison with classical virgin martyr legends, it examines how the virginity of medieval insular women in some ways followed but at others most significantly departed from the classical models in order to present a new form of female sanctity. This thesis is not only a detailed study exploring medieval English abbesshood in hagiography, but also provides insights into the roles of the vitae of native female saints in the formation of localities and nationality, looking at issues such as the translation of relics and local cult activities. Given that the SELS are one of the post- Conquest hagiographic collections, that aimed to present saints from Anglo-Saxon, British, Irish, or Celtic backgrounds, as ‘English’ saints, this study demonstrates how the SELS present a late medieval view of the nation composed of various localities of saints.
Supervisor: Mills, Robert ; Warner, Seth Lawrence ; Salih, Maha Sarah Abdulelah Lloyd Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available