Double Agents: Women and Clerical Culture in Anglo-Saxon England

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University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001 - History - 244 pages
Obviously a part of the social fabric of Anglo-Saxon England, women are nevertheless accorded an obscure and slender role in the textual archive of masculine clerical culture. What can this record of patriarchy, Clare Lees and Gillian Overing ask, contribute to the history of women? Double Agents explores the meaning and implications of women's absence and presence in the partial history of Anglo-Saxon culture.

Rather than recovering the details of exceptional women's lives, Double Agents concerns itself with the formation of the cultural record itself, and with women's relation to its processes of production and reception. By revisiting many familiar issues within the scholarly tradition -- orality and literacy, documentation and authenticity, sources and analogues -- and by looking at some of the core authors of the period -- Bede, Aldhelm, and AElfric, who continue the intellectual traditions of the early Church fathers -- Lees and Overing address woman's entry into the patristic symbolic, the order which authorizes the record itself.

 

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Contents

Bede Hild and Cultural Procreation
15
The Gendered Paradigm of Cultural Production
29
Whats in a Name?
45
Chartered Territory
62
Whats in a Name Indeed
77
Riddles of Literacy Riddles of Signification
92
The Lady Reads
105
Gender Performance Hagiography
110
Female Saints Female Subjects?
125
Dead Bodies Living Metaphors
167
Bibliography
219
Index
235
Copyright

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