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Virgin Martyrs : Legends of Sainthood in Late Medieval England (Hardcover)

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Product Overview

Stories of the torture and execution of beautiful Christian women first appeared in late antiquity and proliferated during the early Middle Ages. A thousand years later, virgin martyrs were still the most popular female saints. Their legends, in countless retellings through the centuries, preserved a standard plot -- the heroine resists a pagan suitor, endures cruelties inflicted by her rejected lover or outraged family, works miracles, and dies for Christ. That sequence was embellished by incidents emblematic of the specific saint: Juliana's battle with the devil, Barbara's immurement in the tower, Katherine's encounter with spiked wheels.

Karen A. Winstead examines this seemingly static story form and discovers subtle shifts in the representation of the virgin martyrs, as their legends were adapted for changing audiences in late medieval England. The saints' portrayals participated in and were shaped by the cultural debates and contests for authority that marked an era of political instability, rapid social change, and increasing religious dissent.

Winstead's is the first book devoted exclusively to the study of English virgin martyr legends. The texts she considers include the early thirteenth-century Katherine Group legends, the South English Legendary, and narratives by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Paris, John Lydgate, Osbern Bokenham, and John Capgrave.

Specifications

Publisher Cornell Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780801433337
SKU 202313004
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0801433339
Release Date 6/11/2013
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$85.18 + free shipping
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