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Title: Nine worthies and nine worthy women : image, text and performance in north-western Europe 1311-1650
Author: Hedge, Sue
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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The topos of the Nine Worthies and Nine Worthy Women was widely used in a variety of media across western Europe throughout the late medieval and early modern period_ While many scholars have commented on the Worthies, few have questioned their meaning. The common assumption is that these figures simply represented chivalric virtue and that this meaning remained relatively unchanged through their long history_ This thesis challenges that assumption by examining the contexts in which this imagery was used. Through a series of case studies ranging across geographic areas, media and periods, it demonstrates that the Worthies' meaning was complex, shifting and flexible - and that it was precisely this flexibility that made them so useful. Previous studies have tended to assume literary origins and paths of transmission of the topos. This thesis argues that this imagery was performative. It examines how the Worthies were used to negotiate between different layers of authority, and how they crossed social, temporal and spatial boundaries. The 'canon' of Worthy Women was more variable and less frequently used than the male version. The thesis compares the differing origins, use and reception of male and female Worthies and examines possible reasons for this disparity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available