IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 810: Women and the Natural World in Medieval Literature, IV: Boundaries

Tuesday 2 July 2019, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Olivia Colquitt, Department of English, University of Liverpool
Moderator/Chair:Danielle Howarth, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Paper 810-aOf Worms and Women: Contextualising the Silkworm in Gervase of Tilbury's Otia Imperialia
(Language: English)
Anna McKay, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures - English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Anna McKay, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures - English Literature, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Sexuality, Theology
Paper 810-bWitches, Female Weather Makers, and Poisoners in the Carolingian Empire
(Language: English)
Christoph Galle, Fachbereich Evangelische Theologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Christoph Galle, Fachbereich Evangelische Theologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Latin, Law
Paper 810-cThe Lady and Her Destructive Unicorn
(Language: English)
Brianna Daigneault, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Brianna Daigneault, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Celtic, Women's Studies
Abstract

The final session of the series sheds light on how boundaries are demarcated, destabilised, and transgressed by women in medieval literature. Drawing upon allegorical links between clothwork and femininity, Gervase of Tilbury depicts silk as a product of women’s sexual insatiability to expose the corruptive effects of female agency in nature. Working to suppress the threat of remnant pagan practices, Carolingian churches targeted unruly women with supposed supernatural powers over the wilds and the weather. In the Welsh Perceval, the destructive effects of the maiden’s unicorn upon the forest subvert expectations of romance, blurring the margins between numerous thematic binarisms.