Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It (Hardcover)
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LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 CUNDIL HISTORY PRIZE
A "Next Big Idea Book Club" Must Read?
A groundbreaking reappraisal of medieval femininity, revealing why women have been written out of history and why it matters
The Middle Ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings; a patriarchal society that oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the "Dark" Ages were anything but.
Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women's names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burned, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated.
Only now, through a careful examination of the artifacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women, such as:
- Jadwiga, the only female king in Europe
- Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety
- Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England
In Femina, Ramirez invites us to see the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories.