Sexing the Manuscript: the case for female ownership of MS Chetham 8009

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Abstract

This paper will examine the evidence for the ownership of the anonymous fifteenth-century compilation known as MS Chetham 8009. Although there is no external evidence for the manuscript's history or ownership, this paper argues that its selection of texts, their arrangement, and their apparent preoccupations indicate that it was probably compiled by or for a woman. The texts involved are four female saints' lives, three romances, two texts often used for educational purposes, one text of more general "courtly" material, and some filler-items. The significance of each of these genres for medieval women readers is discussed in turn, as well as that of the themes which emerge upon viewing the collection as a whole. It is hoped that this study will provide a useful test-case for scholars working on the background of other similarly "anonymous" medieval manuscripts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalNeophilologus
Volume82
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998

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