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").
UPDATE! The MLA has totally revamped their citation style (as of Spring 2016); until I get it figured out, my courses will roll with the 2009 edition.
The resources on this and the linked pages are primarily aids for studying non-Chaucerian Middle English, but there will inevitably be some overlap with the Chaucerian resources in content and utility.
Organized alphabetically (by last name or, if the writer goes by a toponymic, first name). Also consult the Luminarium entries for these authors.
- The World of Chaucer at the University of Glasgow. You can also look at the Flickr set associated with this exhibition.
Working with Chaucer Manuscripts
- At Harvard's Chaucer website has a series of subpages dedicated to textual editing as well as codicology and paleography.
Manuscript Finding Aids
None of the medieval texts we read originally appeared in the tidy, uniform format of the student edition. They all circulated in handwritten, unique manuscripts (with the exception of a few early printed texts). This material fact can greatly affect how we might read this literature intertextually and the kinds of assumptions we make about readerships.
How did medieval artists source and create their pigments? What techniques and resources did they use? How can modern artists' techniques help us understand how medieval artists applied their paints? How can modern analytic equipment help us understand both pigments and techniques? This list of links provides some good starting points for exploring these questions.
Obviously not an exhausive list, these manuscripts are of particular interest to the student of Middle English and/or manuscripts I often teach from. Note that Chaucer has his own page of manuscript links, and the Major Authors page also points you to some fully digitized manuscripts.
Websites Designed for Students
- Harvard's METRO: Middle English Teaching Resources Online. One of the best online introductions to Chaucer as poetry and literature.
- That site has (sort of) grown out of Larry Benson's somewhat older Chaucer Page at the University of Harvard. A mine of useful information provided by one of the best in the field.
Middle English Dictionary (MED)
The Middle English Dictionary, the centerpiece of the Middle English Compendium,, is your best friend for understanding the nuances of Middle English literature. Most of the texts I assign gloss the "hard" words and/or provide a glossary at the end of the textbook, but glosses only get you so far.