Book Series Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts , vol. 25

Saints Edith and Æthelthryth: Princesses, Miracle Workers, and their Late Medieval Audience

The Wilton Chronicle and the Wilton Life of St Æthelthryth

Mary Dockray-Miller

  • Pages: 476 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:1 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Middle English
  • Publication Year:2009

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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52836-6
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56275-9
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Review(s)

"Saints Edith and Aethelthryth: Princesses, Miracle Workers and Their Late Medieval Audience offers scholars and students two examples of hagiography written for fifteenth-century women and the context in which they were created and consumed.  As with their medieval audience, the fifteenth-century Lives of Saints Edith and Aethelthryth provide modern readers with many messages.  Their stories expand our understanding of the use of hagiography, add to the corpus of medieval women's history, and "illuminate...the history of women as consumers of literature". (Amy K. Bosworth, in: TMR, 10.03.13)

Summary

Saints Edith and Æthelthryth: Princesses, Miracle Workers, and their Late Medieval Audience narrates the lives of two Anglo-Saxon princesses who were venerated as saints long after their deaths. St Edith, the daughter of King Edgar, was renowned as a patron of the arts and the church during her lifetime; her posthumous miracles included protection of Wilton Abbey and the English royal family. St Æthelthryth, who retained her virginity through not one but two royal marriages, also worked numerous miracles at her tomb at the Abbey of Ely. The poems, composed at Wilton Abbey in the early fifteenth century, allow us to see how late medieval religious women practised their devotion to early medieval women saints. The Middle English verse texts are presented here in the original and in translation with explanatory notes and glossary. A thorough introduction provides extensive contextualization and analysis of the two poems as well as description of the manuscript and its language and prosody. These primary source texts are important contributions to the study of English history, language, literature, religion, and women's studies.