A Medieval Woman's Companion has been chosen as a finalist in 3 categories: Adult Nonfiction; Women's Studies; and Young Adult Nonfiction
Finalist for the 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in 3 categories: Adult Nonfiction; Women’s Studies; and Young Adult Nonfiction.
Many thanks to Sandra and her team for producing such a beautiful magazine and website, Medievalists.net.
"Morrison does a superb job of making medieval women accessible to mainstream audiences." The Medieval Magazine
Sandra Alvarez writes, "[I]it is an excellent book for readers who want a good starting point on their journey into women's studies, feminism, and gender during the Middle Ages....The book takes aim at many of the mainstream myths perpetuated about the lives of medieval women, such as, the idea that they lived horrible oppressed lives, and had little to no agency, or the notion that all medieval women were illiterate....Morrison does her best to debunk these claims by providing over 200 pages of examples, from the Early Middle Ages to the beginning of the Early Modern period....She also discusses how to approach medieval texts with a view to modern concepts of freedom and agency...Morrison does a superb job of making medieval women accessible to mainstream audiences, and tying in traditional and digital sources."
"A Medieval Woman's Companion: Women's Lives in the European Middle Ages
by Susan Signe Morrison offers a treasure trove of information about the trail blazing women who lived during a tumultuous time in Western European history. In this book designed for young adult readers, the author introduces - in six informative and interesting chapters - twenty-one courageous women who defined their roles in a male dominated society....Morrison’s A Medieval Woman's Companion is a book that should be read by both men and women alike so that they get to know the lives of these amazing personalities who have helped shape the modern world as we know it today
....Morrison proves that behind the male facade, it is possible to see resolute and resourceful women who took leading and diverse roles during the Middle Ages, and in the process they empowered themselves and future generations of women. From the pioneering Gudrun to the fearless Eleanor of Aquitaine, the innovative Hildegard von Bingen, the reformer Birgitta, the fearless Joan of Arc, and the inventive Teresa de Cartagena, we get to know the women who have made history 'her story' too
~ Maria Beltran, Readers' Favorite
Website for A Medieval Woman's Companion
This accompanying website has educational links, images, downloadable curriculum guide, and interactive blog which will be made available at the time of publication.
Cover depicts Judith holding the head of the evil Holofernes by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Judith inspired many authors and artists in the Middle Ages.
Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2015.
What have a deaf nun, the mother of the first baby born to Europeans in North America, and a condemned heretic to do with one another? They are among the virtuous virgins, marvelous maidens, and fierce feminists of the Middle Ages who trail-blazed paths for women today. Without those first courageous souls who worked in fields dominated by men, women might not have the presence they currently do in professions such as education, the law, and literature. Focusing on women from Western Europe between c. 300 and 1500 CE in the medieval period and richly carpeted with detail, A Medieval Woman's Companion offers a wealth of information about real medieval women who are now considered vital for understanding the Middle Ages in a full and nuanced way. Short biographies of 20 medieval women illustrate how they have anticipated and shaped current concerns. Their legacy abides until today in attitudes to contemporary women that have their roots in the medieval period. The final chapter suggests how 20th and 21st century feminist and gender theories can be applied to and complicated by medieval women's lives and writings. Doubly marginalized due to gender and the remoteness of the time period, medieval women's accomplishments are acknowledged and presented in a way that readers can appreciate and find inspiring. Ideal for high school and college classroom use in courses ranging from history and literature to women's and gender studies, an accompanying website with educational links, images, downloadable curriculum guide, and interactive blog will be made available at the time of publication.
Story Circle’s Susan Wittig Albert reviewed A Medieval Woman’s Companion. She writes, “A Medieval Woman’s Companion is—I’m not exaggerating here—the best introduction I know of to the widely-varied lives of medieval women….Borrowing from the Irish poet Eavan Boland, [Morrison] reminds us that the past needs us: “That very past in poetry which simplified us as women and excluded us as poets now needs us to change it.”
And that, for Morrison, is the central point of all our learning and study and thought. As a teacher, she knows that “we need to understand the historical past of women to change the historical future of women … As women historians and chroniclers of women’s lives and writings, we … have our work cut out for us.”
As readers, too, we have our work cut out for us. And Morrison’s Companion is exactly the kind of guide we need for the journey.”
~ Susan Wittig Albert, Story Circle Book Reviews
And a lovely review by the great medieval mystery writer, Candace Robb.
"Historians are writing brilliant books about women in the middle ages. Hurrah! Where to begin?! If you’re just starting, I can’t think of a better introduction and overview than Susan Signe Morrison’s new book, A Medieval Woman’s Companion (Oxbow Books 2016)....If you’re writing about medieval women or teaching medieval history or literature, this book is an essential. What a resource!"
~ Candace Robb, author of The Service of the Dead, The Triple Knot, and the Owen Archer mystery series
Delighted that Candace shared such a lovely review.