‘I, Catherine’
Biography, documentary culture, and public presence
in Performing women
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Catherine Baudoche’s versatile patronage illustrates that, in Metz, female performance fed broader currents of cultural patronage and financial agency. This chapter develops a multifaceted portrait through the biographies of Catherine and her stepmother, Catherine Gronnaix, revealing a family history that positioned these women at a nexus of social and economic power. Through ceremonial practice and entertainments, these two Catherines forged connections with local and trans-regional elites that reinforced those created by the Saint Catherine jeu. Moreover, at multiple points in their lives – early childhood, youth, marriage, widowhood, old age – the Catherines took part in financial transactions that put them at the centre of performative legal acts. Catherine Gronnaix, for example, enacted her vassalage to the dukes of Lorraine through a combination of spoken oath and physical sealing. Such performances served as a sign and representation of identity that was affirmed through public rite. Personal wealth enabled the financial power that supported acts of dramatic and liturgical patronage. Yet economic ownership and agency also positioned the Catherines to represent themselves in seals, legal language, ceremonies, and household performances that established them as full participants in the Messine legal and political spheres.

Performing women

Gender, self, and representation in late medieval Metz


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