Thursday, March 16, 2006

Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia

Heocwaeth (which means "she says" in Old English, for those who don't know the language) has a profile of Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia that's worth a read.

As many of you know, I'm a real curmudgeon when it comes to medieval women writers -- I think too many are canonized because they are women (*cough* Julian of Norwich *cough*), not because they are particularly good like Christine de Pisan (who is, indisputably, super-awesome).

This isn't to say that I don't admire some women in the medieval world, and one of the most admirable is Aethelflaed. One of the interesting side effects of the West Saxon laws forbidding women from ruling is that all the royal daughters got married off to neighboring kingdoms were sometimes, like Aethelflaed, they blossomed into full power.

Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia, Medieval Warrior Princess.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sorry, earlier spelling error created unintended snark.
    Thanks for the link, Professor. Now, I'm sure I'll get to some of the medieval women writers who get your inner curmudgeon rolling shortly. Julian's not a friend of mine, but Hrotswitha is. Big-time.

  3. Two questions:
    1.) Can you give arguments to support your position that some women (preferably more than one, since you did use the plural) are included in the canon because they are women?
    2.) I'm pretty sure there are male writers included in the canon for reasons other than the quality of their writing. Are you a "real curmudgeon" when it comes to those, too? Can you give examples (and perhaps note when you've complained about this publically as well)?