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Susan M. Johns

, pursuing political ambition, as religious, pious wives, mothers and daughters. Such views of women depend very much on genre, date of composition and context of entry of a female character into the narrative. It is important to recognise that medieval writers wrote within convention. When Étienne de Fougères wrote his Le Livre des Manières in 1160–70, he described good and bad women, and used the countess of Hereford as his model of female courtly, aristocratic and ‘good behaviour’.10 In the early twelfth century, Baudri de Bourgeuil wrote of the beauty of his subjects

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

shaped his material to suit the taste of a female reader and it is difficult to assess whether Constance had an influence on the content of Gaimar’s Estoire. Gaimar wrote to entertain and in the romance genre, and although some of his figures are without doubt fabrications, he wrote using images and words to which his audience could relate. Indeed, John Gillingham goes so far as to suggest that Gaimar articulates an alternative and secular set of values to puritanical monastic authors.75 Elisabeth van Houts finds the issue of female patronage to be important and

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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Susan M. Johns

saints’ lives. This theme was explored in greater detail in a discussion of the role of noblewomen as patrons of the chroniclers and narratives. Such female influence may well have 198 conclusion affected the popularity of important texts in the twelfth century such as Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. The activity of noblewomen as patrons affected the way that specific genres developed, and they had important roles to play in the process of cultural diffusion. The development of views of women in chronicles and narratives was discussed in

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

and London: University of California Press, 1987); eadem, Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (New York: Zone, 1991). 4 P. Stafford, ‘Women and the Norman Conquest’, TRHS, 6th ser, 4 (1994), 221–49; Stafford, ‘Emma’, pp. 12–13. 7 introduction 5 J. L. Nelson, ‘Women at the court of Charlemagne: a case of monstrous regiment?’ in J. Carmi Parsons (ed.), Medieval Queenship (Stroud: Sutton, 1994), pp. 43–61; eadem, ‘Gender and genre in women historians of the early Middle Ages’, L’Historiographie médiévale en Europe

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Susan M. Johns

. D. White, Custom, Kinship and Gifts to Saints: The Laudatio Parentum in Western France, 1050–1150 (Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988), pp. 27, 166. 6 Ibid., p. 203. 7 Ibid., pp. 26–8; Tabuteau similarly argues that countergifts were given as an aid to memory: Transfers of Property, p. 118. 8 M. Innes, ‘Memory, orality and literacy in an early medieval society’, Past and Present, 158 (1998), 1–36, at p. 5; J. L. Nelson, ‘Gender and genre in women historians of the early Middle Ages’, in L’Historiographie médiévale en Europe (Paris, 1991), 150

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

524, 534, 538, 544, 547–8, 550, 554, 601, 607, 624, 634, 645; she both witnessed and acted as a signa. 29 Stafford, ‘Emma’, pp. 6–8. 30 Ibid., p. 6. 31 Ibid., p. 14. 32 Nelson, ‘Gender and genre’, p. 151. 33 Reuter, ‘Property transactions and social relations’, p. 168. See also M. Innes, ‘Memory, orality and literacy in an early medieval society’, Past and Present, 158 (1998), 5. 34 Reuter, ‘Property transactions and social relations’, p. 168. 35 Gloucester Charters, pp. 25–30. 36 CDF, 1. no. 1136. 37 Ibid. no. 1138. 38 Stafford, ‘Emma’, p. 8, shows that Emma was

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
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On Anglo-Saxon things
James Paz

entities they attach themselves to: words do not only define things; things can define their words. Riddles, riddling and the enigmatic power of things I have contended that the very word ‘thing’ and its Old English origins has played, and can continue to play, a central part in thing theory; but Anglo-​Saxon culture has another claim on this ascendant area of study through the genre of the riddle. Literary scholar Daniel Tiffany contributed to the inauguration of thing theory by asking what poetic riddles may be able to tell us about the material substance of things

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
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Old things with new things to say
James Paz

. Key theoretical concepts –​ agency, autonomy, subjectivity, objectivity, self, other, voice, body, age, gender, genre –​have all been put under strain. These concepts have all played their part in the various branches of critical theory since the latter half of the twentieth century, but by applying them to things, mere things, we take such concepts to the limit of their meaning –​that is, we stretch them almost to breaking point. This is especially true when applying theory to early medieval things, where the gaps in our knowledge of this period prevent us from

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Fragility, brokenness and failure
James Paz

resembling a poem, they correspond to less than eighteen lines of the 156-​line Dream of the Rood.24 More importantly, and more obviously, these runes are but a part of a three-​dimensional stone monument and they partake in its other features, such as inhabited vine scroll, biblical scenes, Latin inscriptions and so on. Unlike the poem in the Vercelli Book, our experience of the Ruthwell monument is only partially ‘poetic’. This point has been made recently by Orton, Wood and Lees, who remind us that while The Dream signals its genre, beginning and ending according to

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
James Paz

influenced by conventional Christian hagiography and following the traditional form and outline of a saint’s life, it also draws on local, oral sources and imbues its genre with a freshness by including many details and textures from daily life, along with references to familiar landmarks and historical characters. Its writing style is marked by conciseness and clarity. Bede’s later prose Life is more diffuse, filling out the concise account of the anonymous writer, adopting what Bertram Colgrave has called a ‘picturesque’ style of writing and expanding upon a number of

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture