Book Series Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts, vol. 8

St Katherine of Alexandria

Texts and Contexts in Western Medieval Europe

Jacqueline Jenkins, Katherine J. Lewis (eds)

  • Pages: 257 p.
  • Size:160 x 245 mm
  • Illustrations:15 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2003

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51290-7
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53822-8
  • E-book
  • Available

This volume contains an interdisciplinary collection of essays on St Katherine of Alexandria and her followers.


« I like this book very much. It makes crystal clear how much research on virgin martyrs has to offer. (...) The present book is an important contribution to both hagiographical and gender scholarship. » (M. Van Dijck in Speculum, 84 (2005), p. 1311)

"This collection is an important contribution to the growing literature on the cult of St Katherine, but contains much of value for those whose interests extend into wider areas of religious belief and practice." (J. Pinder in Parergon, 22.2 (2005))

"Many more saints could benefit from such concentrated and multi-disciplinary analysis." (S. Salih, in: The Medieval Review, 04.09.11)


St Katherine of Alexandria was one of the most popular saints in Medieval Europe. This book constitutes the first interdisciplinary collection of essays to explore her cult and the range of meanings which St Katherine embodied for her devotees. The essays between them consider a wide range of evidence, from visual representations (wall paintings, manuscript illuminations, stained glass, and seals), to literary texts (lives of the saint, prayers, hymns, devotional manuscripts, and breviaries) as well as documentary evidence (wills, chronicles, ecclesiastical records and antiquarian writings) and the physical remains of churches and chapels dedicated to St Katherine. These sources are interpreted as part of wider manifestations of devotion to the saint in England, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Wales. The authors approach the cult from varying disciplinary and methodological perspectives, but all seek to uncover the various religious, social and cultural messages contained within the different versions of St Katherine which these particular texts and contexts offer. The volume as a whole therefore sheds light not only on devotion to St Katherine, but also on a much wider range of issues and ideologies governing the lives of her devotees and the societies in which they lived.