The Letters of the Rozmberk Sisters
Noblewomen in Fifteenth-Century Bohemia
Women in 15c Bohemia express themselves on marriage, companionship, daily castle life, and family relations.
The letters of the Rozmberk sisters, Perchta and Anézka, give a vivid insight into how medieval women viewed themselves. Perchta's letters inform her father that his choice of a husband for her has caused her desperate sadness andsorrow in which death seems a better alternative. Despite her unhappiness and her almost total dependence on others, however, Perchta undertook to take control of her own fate and to improve the circumstances of her life. Her letters were the means whereby she informed her father and brothers of her misery and persuaded them to take action, and in the process they tell us about her expectations of respect and companionship in marriage. The letters of bothsisters show them to be women with a vigorous sense of their own dignity and offer insights into the hopes and disappointments, joys and vexations of fifteenth-century women. The letters also introduce theenvironment and the activities of daily castle life, and offer an intimate picture of family life in the fifteenth century.JOHN M. KLASSEN is Professor of History at Trinity Western University, Canada. He was assisted in the translations by EVA DOLEZALOVA, Historical Institue, Prague, and LYNN SZABO, Trinity Western University.
"Klassen and the editors of the series ought to be commended for making these letters available to an audience not familiar with the Czech language or the history of Bohemia. They provide one more facet of the position of women in the late Middle Ages." H-NET REVEIWS
"At once domestic and political, private and public... should prove of great interest to medievalsits and students of women's history. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW Excellent addition to series... open[s] a remarkable window into the conditions, beliefs, and expectations that shaped the lives of late medieval noblewomen... Fine introduction. MEDIEVAL FEMINIST FORUM A highly welcome addition to the canon of medieval women's literature. Whereas most scholars continue to study well-known mystical literature, and reproduce women's visionary texts, the Library of Medieval Women series pursues the goal of making available a wider range of medieval women's literature in English translation." MEDIAEVISTIK