Book Series Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts, vol. 28

Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Antwerp Dialogue

Virginia Blanton, Veronica O'Mara, Patricia Stoop (eds)

  • Pages: lxvi + 504 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:21 b/w, 2 col., 2 tables b/w., 1 map
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55411-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55423-5
  • E-book
  • Available

This collection of essays, the third in an integrated series of three and  focused on the literacies of nuns in medieval Europe, brings together specialists working on diverse geographical areas to create a dialogue about the Latin and vernacular texts nuns read, wrote, and exchanged from the eighth to the mid-sixteenth centuries.


“This collection will also be an important resource for further research. Detailed indices listing the individual women, manuscripts and texts mentioned in all three volumes of ‘dialogues’ facilitate access to this wealth of material. Students, researchers new to the field, and others seeking inspiration will find much of interest. The editors deserve warm praise for making the fruits of this research accessible to scholars in a manner that facilitates continuing conversations about medieval nuns’ literacies.” (Julie Hotchin, in History of Women Religions of Britain and Ireland, April 2019)

“Faran med denna typ av antologier är att de ofta saknar en röd tråd. Denna antologi däremot manövrerar elegant mellan olika teman och epoker, inte minst tack vare redaktörerna som lyckas hålla samman samtliga bidrag till en helhet genom ett välformulerat syfte, en genomtänkt struktur och väl valda teman. Det är sålunda med glädje jag rekommenderar denna bok. Den kan med fördel läsas av forskare och studenter intresserade av glömda och tidigare gömda delar av Europas medeltida historia.” (Erik Claeson, in Kyrkohistorisk Ärsskrift 2019, p. 197)

“ (…) the editors (…) express the expectation that the three volumes together will function as a resource to be drawn upon by future scholarship. This is a fair appraisal of their considerable achievement. The usefulness of the three volumes is greatly enhanced by the presence in each of a collective bibliography as well as of indices on manuscripts, texts, convents, and persons.” (Koen Goudriaan, in Speculum, 94/4, 2019, p. 1126)

“The materials they collected in this ambitious project and their careful introduction will be the starting point for all future research on the subject.” (Walter Simons, in The Medieval Review, 20.01.01)

« Ce volume ouvre donc résolument sur de palpitantes perspectives de recherche sur la « literacy » médiévale féminine et masculine en invitant à réévaluer la place et le rôle de l’écrit et de la culture comme « frontière » entre les sexes au Moyen Âge. » (Anne-Laure Meril, dans Le Moyen Âge, 3-4, 2019, p. 683)

“Il volume è sicuramente utile (…)” (Alfonso Marini, in Studi Medievali, LXI/1, 2020, p. 349)

“(…) this book (…) contains a huge amount of information, much of it new, at least to Anglophones, about an area too long neglected. Only a generation ago, there was little for English-speaking students and scholars to read on nuns. Now we have an embarras de richesse, and our access has been thoughtfully facilitated by separate indices of manuscripts and religious houses, as well as of texts and people. These will prove invaluable to those working in an area that still has much to give.” (Alexandra Barratt, in Parergon, 36/2, 2019, p. 198)




The present volume is the third in a series of three integrated publications, the first produced in 2013 as Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Hull Dialogue and the second in 2015 as Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Kansas City Dialogue. Whereas the first volume focused primarily on Northern Europe, the second expanded the range to include material in minority languages such as Old Norse and Old Irish and focused particularly on education and other textual forms, such as the epistolary and the legal.

The third volume expands the geographical range by including a larger selection of female religious, for instance, tertiaries, and further languages (for example, Danish and Hungarian), as well as engaging more explicitly on issues of adaptation of manuscript and early printed texts for a female readership. Like the previous volumes, this collection of essays, focused on various aspects of nuns’ literacies from the late seventh to the mid-sixteenth century, brings together the work of specialists to create a dialogue about the Latin and vernacular texts that were read, written, and exchanged by medieval nuns. Contributors to this volume investigate the topic of literacy primarily from palaeographical and textual evidence and by discussing information about book ownership and production in convents.



Rules and Learning

Leoba’s Legacy: The Carolingian Transformation of an Iconography of Literacy — HELENE SCHECK AND VIRGINIA BLANTON

‘Faciat eas litteras edoceri’: Literate Practices in the Clarissan formae vitae — JULIE ANN SMITH

Religious Order and Textual Identity: The Case of Franciscan Tertiary Women — ALISON MORE

‘To yowr gostly comforte and proffite’: Devotional Reading for the Nuns of Syon Abbey — ANN M. HUTCHISON

Sitting between Two Sisters: Reading Holy Writ in a Community of Tertiaries in Sint-Agnes, Amersfoort — SABRINA CORBELLINI

A Carthusian Nun’s Reportationes of Henricus Cool’s Sermons in the Low Countries — PATRICIA STOOP AND LISANNE VROOMEN

Literacy and Visualization

What Did Catalan Nuns Read? Women’s Literacy in the Female Monasteries of Catalonia, Majorca, and Valencia — BLANCA GARÍ

Christina Hansdotter Brask: Reading and Pictorial Preferences in a Birgittine Prayer Book — EVA LINDQVIST SANDGREN

Devotional Books from the Birgittine Abbey of Maribo — ANNE METTE HANSEN

Scribal Engagement and the Late Medieval English Nun: The Quest Concludes? — VERONICA O’MARA

Memorializing Living Saints in the Milanese Convent of Santa Marta in the Late Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century — BRIAN RICHARDSON

Translating and Rewriting

The Legacy of St Margit: A Case-Study of a Dominican Monastery in Hungary — VIKTÓRIA HEDVIG DEÁK OP

Anonymous Then, Invisible Now: The Readers of ‘Sermon a dames religioses’ — CATE GUNN

Translation and Reform: Le Livre de larbre de la croix Jhesucrist and the Nuns of Montmartre — CATHERINE INNES -PARKER

Image, Text, and Mind: Franciscan Tertiaries Rewriting Stephan Fridolin’s Schatzbehalter in the Pütrichkloster in Munich — ALMUT BREITENBACH AND STEFAN MATTER

Exchange and Networks

The Transmission of Books among Canonesses of the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru in Mons: The Example of Marie de Hoves’s Books — ANNE JENNY-CLARK

The Countess, the Abbess, and their Books: Manuscript Circulation in a Fifteenth-Century German Family — SARA S. POOR

The Transmission of Images between Flemish and English Birgittine Houses — MAR Y C. ERLER

Exchange and Alliance: The Sharing and Gifting of Books in Women’s Houses in Late Medieval and Renaissance Florence — MELISSA MORETON


Index of Manuscripts, Archival Documents, and Incunabula

Index of Texts

Index of Convents

Index of People