Sex and Gender in Medieval and Renaissance Texts

The Latin Tradition

Edited by Barbara K. Gold, Paul Allen Miller, and Charles Platter

Subjects: Medieval Studies
Series: SUNY series in Medieval Studies
Paperback : 9780791432464, 330 pages, March 1997
Hardcover : 9780791432457, 330 pages, March 1997

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Table of contents


Barbara K. Gold, Paul Allen Miller, and Charles Platter

By Woman's Tears Redeemed: Female Lament in St. Augustine's Confessions and the Correspondence of Abelard and Heloise

Nancy A. Jones

Hrotswitha Writes Herself: Clamor Validus Gandeshemensis

Barbara K. Gold

Gender and Negotiating Discourse: Mediated Autobiography and Female Mystics of Medieval Italy

Phyllis Culham

The Saint of the Womanly Body: Raimon de Cornet's Fourteenth-Century Male Poetics

St. John E. Flynn

Petrarch's Sophonisba: Seduction, Sacrifice, and Patriarchal Politics

Donald Gilman

Laurel as the Sign of Sin: Laura's Textual Body in Petrarch's Secretum

Paul Allen Miller

Woman, Space, and Renaissance Discourse

Diana Robin

In Praise of Woman's Superiority: Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's De nobilitate (1529)

Diane S. Wood

The Artificial Whore: George Buchanan's Apologia pro Lena

Charles Platter

"She Never Recovered Her Senses": Roxana and Dramatic Representations of Women at Oxbridge in the Elizabethan Age

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza

Latin and Greek Poetry by Five Renaissance Italian Women Humanists

Holt Parker




Examines interrelated topics in Medieval and Renaissance Latin literature: the status of women as writers, the status of women as rhetorical figures, and the status of women in society from the fifth to the early seventeenth century.


This collection reclaims a vast body of long-neglected Latin texts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and examines how they represent the feminine and the female body. The authors explore the ideological values explicitly encoded by the feminine in these texts, other, less articulated values implied by the feminine, and the role of the classical tradition in communicating those values. The examination of women both as subjects and as rhetorical constructions in Medieval and Renaissance Latin literature sheds light on the larger dialogue about feminism occurring throughout the humanities. In addition, the inclusion of a new body of texts and the rescue of others from their present isolation will expand the reach of classical and humanist scholarship.

Traditional studies of Latin literature end around the beginning of the fifth century C. E. despite the fact that Latin continued to be the dominant literary and intellectual language until at least the latter half of the sixteenth century. Thus most classicists ignore over one thousand years of the Latin literary tradition. Few non-classicists read Latin comfortably and fewer still have a detailed understanding of the history of classical Latin literature. Nevertheless, a knowledge of this history was assumed by most Neo-Latin writers as well as their contemporaries who wrote in the vernacular. This collection supplies tools to examine more completely the construction and application of gender in both Latin and vernacular texts of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Barbara K. Gold is Leonard C. Ferguson Professor of Classics at Hamilton College. She has written and edited two books on literary patronage in Greece and Rome. Paul Allen Miller is Assistant Professor of Classics at Texas Tech University. His previous work includes Lyric Texts and Lyric Consciousness. Charles Platter is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Georgia.


Without question, the topic of this book is significant, the treatment overdue. The word that comes to mind about this book is 'exciting. ' The Neo-Latin field will be made more fertile by what this book offers. " — Edward V. George, Texas Tech University