Middle English

Women's Culture

Women can't be studied apart from the broader history and literature of their time, but there are a variety of online resources that have been developed specifically to illuminate medieval women's experiences, literacies, and writings. In addition to the sites linked below, you'll want to consider the resources provided for the women writers gathered on the Major Authors page as well as those on the History and Culture page (esp. the sections on "Love and Sex").

Guide to Reading Middle English

Basic Principles

  • Read phonetically.  There is no spelling consistency in Middle English; authors and scribes wrote what they spoke (and heard).  And in courses where the texts come from a variety of locales and time periods, you will find substantial spelling changes from poem to poem; reading phonetically (and being flexible about vowel pronunciation) will improve your comprehension and reading speed.

Resources

I have gathered here a wide array of resources -- mostly digital, but some crucial print ones -- for the study of Middle English culture, language, and literature. Although students are my primary audience (I assign material from many of these websites in my courses), I also use these pages as a repository for the increasing number of excellent scholarly websites, especially but not exclusively digital editions, online indices and databases, and manuscript facsimiles. These pages are therefore constantly under construction, as I continue to add (and sometimes remove) content.
 

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