Crawford, Anne, ed., Letters of Medieval Women (Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, Sutton Publishing)
Number of pages of primary source text: 223
Dates: 1217 - 1504
- French - Old French
- English - Middle English
- Translated into English.
Translation Comments: All letters are translated into Modern Standard English. Original languages are noted in parentheses.
County/Region: Westmorland; Glamorgan; Amesbury; Chester; Winchester
- Women / Gender
- Material Culture: Food Clothing, Household
- Nobility / Gentry
- Family / Children
- Clergy - Monks Nuns, Friars
This volume gathers letters composed by women between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries in order to provide the user with a view into the lives of various medieval women, including nuns, queens, noblewomen, and gentry women. More specific introductions are provided at the beginning of each chapter. Chapters are organized by addressee, and the letters are then placed in chronological order. This is an excellent teaching tool and resource for undergraduates. The language is clear, modern, and accessible, and the breadth of women’s experiences is impressive. A bibliography (255-256) and index (257-262) are included. The structure of the book is as follows:
Chapter 1: Women and their parents (1-30)
Chapter 2: Women and their brothers (31-48)
Chapter 3: Women and their lovers and husbands (49-64)
Chapter 4: Women and their sons (65-107)
Chapter 5: Women and their kinfolk (108-134)
Chapter 6: Women and their patrons, friends and servants (135-164)
Chapter 7: Women of religion (165-238)
The introduction (1-29) provides an overview of medieval society c. 1200-1500, with a particular focus on the nature of women’s role in medieval society. It also generally describes the content of the letters, how and by whom they were written, the structure of the letters, and practical matters, such as dating letters and how they were sealed and delivered.