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Rooting, Subverting, and Reclaiming: An Analysis of Clemence of Barking's Catherine of Alexandria as a Pre-modern Gendered Text Open Access


Other title
Clemence of Barking
female authorship and writing
gendered authorship
medieval female writing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Froese, Gina J
Supervisor and department
Dr. Jonathan Hart
Examining committee member and department
Dr. David Gay (English)
Dr. Irene Sywenky (Comparative Literature)
Dr. Jonathan Hart (Comparative Literature)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Comparative Literature
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This thesis suggests a solution to the longstanding tension between feminist literary theory and medieval religious writing. I argue that by appropriately translating key concepts in feminist theory to account for the particularities of earlier periods of genre literature, we may reconsider settled assumptions about medieval religious writing. Using Clemence of Barking’s twelfth century Passio of Catherine of Alexandria as a case in point, this study develops a feminist deconstructive and historical analytic method for comparing hagiographies written by men and women. I show how the female medieval author roots herself in a religious tradition, subverts traditional patriarchal characterization and reclaims the depictions of earlier source texts for a gender positive narrative. The thesis concludes that far from being tools of religious patriarchy, female authors in this genre made subtle alterations to hagiographic narrative in order to rearticulate theological arguments and undercut their misogynistic potential.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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