Gender, Nation and Conquest in the Works of William of Malmesbury

September 2008
176 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Gender in the Middle Ages
ISBN: 9781843834007
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Gender, Nation and Conquest in the Works of William of Malmesbury

Kirsten A. Fenton

out of stock

A fresh new approach to the works of William of Malmesbury, looking in particular at his presentation of men and women.
William of Malmesbury is one of the most important English historians of the twelfth century -- not only a critical period in English history, but also one that has been recognised as significant in terms of the writing of history and the construction of a national past.
This innovative study provides a gendered reading of Malmesbury's works with special reference to the themes of conquest and nation. It considers Malmesbury's presentation of men and women [both lay and religious] through categories based on attributes, such as sexual behaviour and violence, rather than the more familiar `professional' or familial roles, such as warrior and wife. It is also concerned with language and how the topics of conquest and nation are discussed in gendered terms. Importantly, attention is paid to Malmesbury's own position as a post-conquest chronicler, writing at a time of church reform, and to the impact the changes had upon the construction of the stories he narrates.

KIRSTEN A. FENTON holds a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.

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Table of Contents

William of Malmesbury and his World
William's Construction of Gender: Violence and its Expression
William's Construction of Gender: Sexual Behaviour
The Presentation of Gentes
Gender, Nation and Conquest


Fenton's close reading of William of Malmesbury is often thoughtful and effective. SPECULUM

[A] precise and poignant - and immensely readable - study. [It] rewards its readers with numerous fascinating insights, and it raises questions relevant for our understanding not only of Malmesbury but also of the wider context within which he wrote. [...] One hopes that more studies on the subject will follow, and that they will match the sophistication, intelligence and lucidity of this fascinating and important book. HISTORY

Those who come fresh to William of Malmesbury through this book will undoubtedly want to read more of him; those already familiar with his work will find Fenton's novel approach suggestive with considerable potential for development. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

[An] innovative study. ANGLO-SAXON ANONYMOUS,

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