Major Authors

Organized alphabetically (by last name or, if the writer goes by a toponymic, first name). Also consult the Luminarium entries for these authors.

Boccaccio

  • The Decameron Web originated as a teaching tool at Brown University and offers all sorts of perspectives on Boccaccio's Decameron and fourteenth-century Italian life. Boccaccio's Decameron, Teseida, Il Filostrato and other works were important sources and inspirations for Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, and others, so if you are dipping into Boccaccio's work for a particular project, this website will be invaluable. The "Pedagogy" section also provides some very useful suggestions and examples, especially for doing in-class presentations and working with secondary criticism.

Boethius

  • Boethius, a late Antique statesman and writer, wrote the Consolation of Philosophy, the most influential (short of the Bible) book in the Middle Ages. You can read his biography at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and learn about the Wheel of Fortune, the influential medieval concept of the inexorability of fate.

Christine de Pizan

  • For a quick biography of Christine, see the NNDB biography. Another biography from Kings College in PA also includes an annotated list of print and online resources.
  • I have found very few online full-text translations of Christine's work. The McMaster Medieval Women website provides passages from some of her works.
  • The Christine de Pizan Scriptorium has fully digitized many of her manuscripts, and provides a full index of all her manuscripts.
  • Quite a bit of work has been done with Christine's construction of her own literary authority in the manuscripts she designed to be presented to French royalty. Alan Farber (an Art Historian at SUNY Oneonta) has posted a teaching essay on the topic (complete with illustrations).
  • The British Library, in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh, has created a website dedicated to this manuscript (BL, Harley MS 4431), complete with a full digital facsimile.
  • Susan Groag Bell has also written a fascinating study of the portrayal of the woman writer at work in manuscripts of Christine's work: "Christine de Pizan in her Study," Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, Études christiniennes, 2008.

The Gawain-Poet

  • British Library, Cotton MS Nero A.x is the shelfmark of the manuscript containing the unique copy of the anonymous Gawain-poet's four works: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and three other alliterative poems (Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience). A digital facsimile of the manuscript can be accessed at "The Cotton Nero A.x Project" from the University of Calgary. The main project website also provide a diplomatic transcription of the poems (available under "Publications") as well as a bibliography of digital resources relevant to these poems. [UPDATE: The "digital facsimile" link is currently broken, but you can view the individual page images at http://contentdm.ucalgary.ca/cdm/search/collection/gawain).

John Gower

  • The John Gower Bibliography. Like the Chaucer Bibliography, this resource includes annotations and sometimes full reviews (!) of Gower scholarship, and will probably be more thorough than the MLA.
  • The International John Gower Society. This is the scholarly body that supports the Gower Bibliography, and their main homepage has links to other resources that might be of interesy.
  • The Gower Project is a collaborative website focused on All Things Gower.
  • Gower manuscripts are not as widely digitized as Chaucer's have been, but the "World of Chaucer" online exhibition from the University of Glasgow includes an introduction to Gower and some images from their collection, and the Pierpont Morgan has digitized the illuminations from MS M.126, their 1470s manuscript of Confessio Amantis. (The illuminations are quite sophisticated -- I strongly recommend browsing through the list of illuminated stories.)
  • The Gower Blog. If you like the Chaucer Blogger, take a look at this one -- there is some interesting byplay between the two (although Maister Gower has not been posting new blog posts for several years now).

Robert Henryson

Thomas Malory

  • The Malory Project is a digital initiative to edit and provide online facsimiles (of both manuscripts and early print) of Malory's Morte D'Arthur.
  • There is also a full digital facsimile of the Winchester Manuscript of the Morte D'Arthurs at the British Library Digitized Manuscripts site (click on the thumbnail to get the "page-through" screen)
  • You can read more about the Winchester Manuscript and its digitization on the British Library's Medieval Manuscripts Blog.

Julian of Norwich

  • Warning! Julian has been "adopted" by many contemporary theological and women's studies circles, and the material they publish online is not always of high scholarly quality. Your safest starting point, after the introductions to your texts, is the Cambridge Companion to Julian of Norwich (Main Library BV5095.J84 C6 2008)
  • Julian's theology, and the relationships between the two versions of her texts, are tricky. If you really want to get into her work, the resource you need is a print edition of these two texts: The Writings of Julian of Norwich : A vision showed to a devout woman and A revelation of love, ed. Nicholas Watson and Jacqueline Jenkins  (Main Library BV4832.3.W75 2006).
  • After you have spent some time with these other resources, you may wish to look at Julia Bolton Holloway's website. Holloway is a contemporary nun whose scholarship is exemplary even while it is highly colored by her own religious beliefs. This is a challenging website (its layout is awkward and hard to navigate, and the arguments it sometimes poses are advanced), but it is also useful for explaining some of the finer interconnections between Julian and her theological context. This is a website whose content and links should be read cautiously and critically.

Margery Kempe

  •  Note: there is much on the web about Margery that is of less-than-scholarly quality. Always start with the introduction to your assigned text, and whatever apparatus that text provides.
  •  The Cambridge Companion to The Book of Margery Kempe (Main Library PR2007.K4 Z724 2004) is a good introductory print resource.
  •  The Mapping Margery Kempe website from the College of the Holy Cross provides much of the broader religious, cultural, and topographical background to Margery's life and times. It is particularly strong in images and in explaining the basic workings of medieval life.
  • You can also view the entire manuscript of Margery's Book.

Marie de France

  • For a quick biography of Marie, see the one at NNDB.
  • I prefer Judith Shoaf's verse translations of Marie de France's lais, available as PDF documents at her University of Florida website.
  • You also can listen to Dr. Shoaf reading Marie's "Lanval" in Old French (use RealPlayer or download the MP3 file).
  • Paul Brians at Washington State University has provided a helpful series of study questions for Marie's lais that you might want to take advantage of as you read them.
  • You can also view manuscripts of Marie de France's poetry. This page also includes links to online editions, translations, and other useful material. 

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, aka Bess of Hardwick

  • Not a medieval woman (she lived 1521-1608), Bess was one of the most important women in late 16th century England. Much of her correspondance has survived, and you can now read Bess's own words -- and, in some cases, in her own handwriting -- on the Bess of Hardwick's Letters website (sponsored by the University of Glasgow).

Tags: