Gender and the 'Natural' Environment in the Middle Ages

Editor(s) Theresa L. Tyers,Patricia Skinner

Language: English

Genre(s): Gender Studies, Medieval

Series: Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages

  • September 2023 · 272 pages ·234x156mm

  • · Hardback - 9781837720576
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837720583
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837720590

About The Book

The later Middle Ages in Europe c.1150–c.1500 can be viewed as an extensive scientific laboratory, with scholars and other writers producing texts that sought to define and redefine the human body – in relation to its daily work and environment, and in relation to God. This volume draws on written and visual evidence from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, placing gender at the centre of its enquiries, addressing the relationship between the human and the ‘natural’ (including the non-human) at a time when new worlds, new texts and new religious experiences were reshaping the individual and collective relationship with the cosmos, and challenging as well as reinforcing established hierarchies.


‘In the wake of numerous new studies engaged with the concept of nature, this volume offers a range of fascinating papers that examine how individual medieval writers or artists viewed themselves within their material environment. A typically medieval mindset among mystics promoted an allegorical concept of nature, and we read about medieval women’s unique approaches to their natural and social environment. Their struggle, for instance, against men’s tendency to relegate them into a gendered space presents a study of “nature” leading to new insights into women’s individuality, independence and female identity.’

-Dr Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona


Foreword Laura Kalas
1. Introduction: Considering Nature Patricia Skinner and Theresa L. Tyers
2. Intersections of [Un]Nature, Power, and [Dis]Order: The Presentation of Elite Women in Medieval Chronicles Linda E. Mitchell
3. Gendering Treatment: Cupping by Female Practitioners in Late Medieval Visual Culture Jennifer Borland
4. Fracturing Boundaries: Domesticity and Agriculture Practices in a LateFourteenth
Century Manuscript Theresa L. Tyers
5. Distilling Nature: Raw Materials, ‘Artificial’ Remedies and the Human Body in the Later Middle Ages Elma Brenner
6. Recreating the ‘Natural World’: The Medieval Oyster and her Pearl Diane Heath
7. Amazed and Ravished in the Medieval Garden: The Space of Lesbian Desire in The Assembly of Ladies and The Floure and the Leafe Michelle M. Sauer
8. Monstrous Hybrids, Maternal Sin, and the Concept of Species in Nicole Oresme’s De causis mirabilium Tess Wingard


About the Editor(s)

Author(s): Patricia Skinner

Patricia Skinner is a Professor in History at Swansea University. Her research focuses on minority groups in medieval Europe, and she is the author of Studying Gender in Medieval Europe: Historical Approaches (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

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