Popular Memory and Gender in Medieval England

May 2019
295 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Gender in the Middle Ages
ISBN: 9781783273522
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, REL008000

Popular Memory and Gender in Medieval England

Men, Women and Testimony in the Church Courts, c.1200-1500

Bronach C. Kane

An exploration of the influence of gender on the workings of memory in the Middle Ages.
This book considers for the first time how gender influenced the ways that "ordinary" men and women remembered past events in the centuries leading up to the Reformations. Previous studies have focussed on mnemonics in universities and monasteries; here, however, the author explores lay contexts instead, focusing on the memories of people below the level of the aristocracy. She also challenges conventional narratives aligning female remembrance with domesticity while embedding male memory in the public sphere.
It is underpinned by unique records from the church courts of Canterbury and York which preserve vivid testimony from men and women alike, in suits concerning marriage, insult, and debt, as well as tithes, testaments and ecclesiastical rights. From the thirteenth century, Church authorities in Canterbury probed witnesses' memories, asking how they remembered past events, a concern that reached the Court of York in the early 1340s. The book explores the legal and religious developments that generated these memories, which in turn yield precious evidence of the moral and emotional worlds of people at the time.

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Table of Contents

Pastoral Care, Canon Law, and Social Relations
Gender, Narrative, and Testimony
Bodily Practices
Sexuality and Generation
Marriage, Kinship, and Widowhood
Orality, Written Memory, and Custom
Place, Landscape, and Gender

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