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The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse (Oxford Medieval Texts)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198212744
ISBN-10: 0198212747
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Medieval Texts
  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press (July 9, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198212747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198212744
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,328,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Popular belief holds that during the Middle Ages sex was avoided like the plague --another medieval staple-- and all human energies went to glorify God. This "Life of Christina" is able to both support part of the popular belief and, at the same time, undermine it, leaving the reader with a strange sense of wonder at such a talented and resourceful woman who, with her work and example, contributed to the solid establishment of a social paradigm that would become dominant for the next 800 years and that would be so detrimental to women.
Christina, whose given name was Theodora, chose many paths in her life. She chose her name, chose to remain a virgin, chose not to marry any man, and chose to stick to her decisions. This is not the story of a girl who is forced into a convent and must sacrifice her terrenal love to obey her family. Christina is literally hounded by her parents because they want her to marry. Her mother will eventually not care if there is a marriage as long as Christina has sex with somebody. Since Christina refuses, such act would have to be rape, but mom is just fine with that, too. The smart girl will prove to be quite a match for Ralph Flambard, a cad who attempts to seduce her; for Burthred, her hapless betrothed; and for mom and dad. Even the prior Fredebertus will not be able to disuade her from remaining a virgin. This story is, then, very much in line with the popular view of the Middle Ages: virginity at all costs and service to God. But Christina is continuosly penalized precisely for wanting those two things. Everybody else around her wants her to marry, and her mother just wants her to have sex and get it over with.
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