This paper will consider two domestically-inflected renderings of the Nativity in two late medieval religious texts, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, and the anonymous Book to a Mother. Both Nativity episodes see the authors of these texts frame this event in terms of the Holy Family’s relationship to various household items, from cushions to bread baskets. As these items would have been found in the homes of the laypeople who read the Mirror and the Book, this paper will explore the ways in which these readers might have responded to seeing these familiar objects at such a salient Biblical episode. I will examine the relationship between the material culture of the lay household and the imagined domesticity of these texts.
In the private letters of female authors, thoughtfulness to the addressee can be felt. In the letters of Margaret Paston, we can see it partly in her use of subjunctive mood, and partly by the words deleted or added in the letter, though the degree of thoughtfulness changed according to the addressee and period. In this paper, I would like to classify the examples of her similar kinds of expressions and show how she described, as it were, her solicitude toward the addressee.
Despite her very brief appearance and a rather minor importance throughout Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur, Elaine of Ascolat’s life mingles with the life of Lancelot and ends at Camelot with a materialistic memory in her hands, a letter of explanation. This paper will apply the concept of agency and network theory (ANT) as well as the concept of translation, the key in ANT, to consider and substantiate the letter in the hands of dead Elaine. The letter, as a token, is passed through Elaine’s networks, thus becoming increasingly important.