Sex, Sin, and Death
Sex, Sin, and Death: Medieval Women’s Writing 2023-24
School Of Arts, Culture And Language
Module - Semester 1
What were medieval women writing and reading? Which themes emerge as important in their work? This module examines women’s textual culture in which we hear their voices in a period when men encouraged women to be ‘chaste, silent and obedient.’ The module explores a range of texts written, translated, read, commissioned, and performed by women, examining the ways in which these respond to men's (mis)understanding of women. The texts studied in seminar offer opportunity to hear, amongst others, the intimate thoughts and words of Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, the Paston wives, Hrotsvita and Marie de France. All of the authors share an interest in sex, sin and death, as recorded in their travel narratives, letters, devotions, poetry, and drama – all of which contributed to the rich textual culture of the Middle Ages.
The texts studied on this module offer opportunity to hear, amongst others, the intimate thoughts and words of Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, the Paston wives, Marie de France, and Hrotsvita, among others., The works studied offer a female perspective on sex, sin and death, as recorded in women's travel narratives, letters, devotions, lyrics, drama and prose.
- Engage in writing with the ongoing critical discussion of these texts and their authors, genres, reception and intertextuality.
- Make use of online databases of late medieval texts, developing both IT and critical skills in the process.
- Relate the texts studied on the module to medieval literary contexts and to attitudes to women.
- Select and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in essay form, to a deadline.
2000 word essay examining the subject matter and the written strategies of one of the female writers studied on the first part of the module.
Essay two invites students to compare and contrast the written strategies of two women writers studied on the module.