1887

n Acta Academica - Medieval images of womanhood : the construction of Mary of Nemmegen

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 0587-2405

Abstract

The late-medieval English prose text <i>Mary of Nemmegen&lt;/i&gt; (c 1518) relates the tale of a girl who spends seven years with the devil but is ultimately miraculously saved. In the context of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's textualisation of female experience versus male authority, this feminist study problematises the orthodox interpretation of the <i>exemplum</i> as a quintessentially medieval tale of the triumph of Good over Evil by offering a "resisting" reading of the text's constructions of Good / Evil, the church, and female identity. It does so by means of an investigation into the "authoritative" textual and iconographical sources of medieval images of womanhood - their nature and their coercive power in the construction of female identity, both generally and in the specific context of the operation of their discourse in <i>Mary of Nemmegen</i>. The text's culminating dream is also read "resistingly" as unmasking the falsity of these images of womanhood by liberating the text to interrogate and deconstruct its own key terms, notably the binary Good / Evil and the medieval church's construction of God.

<b>Middeleeuse beelde van die vrou : die konstruksie van Mary in <i>Mary of Nemmegen</i></b> <br>Die Laat-Middelengelse prosateks <i>Mary of Nemmegen&lt;/i&gt; (c 1518) vertel die verhaal van 'n meisie wat sewe jaar lank met die duiwel verkeer maar uiteindelik deur middel van 'n wonderwerk verlos word. Binne die kader van die tekstualisering van vroulike ondervinding teenoor manlike outoriteit in Chaucer se Wife of Bath, problematiseer hierdie feministiese analise die tradisionele siening van die &lt;i&gt;exemplum&lt;/i&gt; as 'n tipies-middeleeuse storie oor die sege van die Goeie oor die Bose; dit bied 'n herwaardering wat sig teen die teks se konstruksies van die Goeie en die Bose, die kerk, en vroulike identiteit "verset". Hierdie herwaardering geskied op grond van 'n ondersoek na die gesaghebbende tekstuele en ikonografiese bronne vir vroulike identiteit in die middeleeue : die aard en die konstruktiewe dwangmag daarvan, so algemeen gesien, sowel as in die spesifieke konteks van die werking van sodanige diskoerse in <i>Mary of Nemmegen</i>. Die droom waarmee die teks sy klimaks bereik, word ook "met verset" gelees. Op hierdie manier ontmasker dit as't ware die valsheid van die teks se beelde van die vrou. Sodoende word die teks uiteindelik vrygestel om selfrefleksief al sy sleutelterme, vernaamlik die binêre opposisie Goed / Kwaad en die middeleeuse kerk se konstruksie van God, te bevraagteken en te dekonstrueer.

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/content/academ/2002/sup-2/EJC15121
2002-01-01
2019-11-18

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