Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: November 1, 2023 - Last updated: November 1, 2023


Author: Colleen Dorelle Butler

Title: Queering the Classics

Subtitle: Gender, Genre, and Reception in the Works of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto

Advisor: David Townsend

Year: 2016

Pages: v +270pp.

OCLC Number: 1257952794 - Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 10th Century | European History: German History | Types: Rape; Representations: Literary Texts / Hrotswitha of Gandersheim


- TSpace: Digital Repository of the University of Toronto Libraries (Free Access)

- ProQuest (Restricted Access)


Abstract: »This thesis examines how the world's first female dramatist, the tenth-century canoness Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, challenged pedagogical interpretations of gender in her imitations of Roman literature. The dissertation finds that while Hrotsvit imitated the content and form of Ovid, Terence, and Virgil, she denaturalized the binary conceptions of gender promulgated in their works by inverting the specific markers of gender identified in pedagogical texts associated with them and by linking those behavioural markers to imbalances of social power rather than to biology. Studies of the sex/gender system in the early medieval period have tended to focus on medical discourses which attribute gendered behaviour to biology. My doctoral research uses untapped primary sources to prove that gender was not invariably thought to be tied to biology in the medieval cultural imaginary. The commentaries, glosses, and other pedagogical texts on classical literature used in medieval classrooms presented readers with a concrete set of ideas about gender, including highly specific linguistic and behavioural expectations. While scholars have increasingly begun to analyze commentaries on classical literature for insights into medieval gender norms, the majority of this work has focused on the dissemination of ideas about masculinity in male homosocial schools during the twelfth century and beyond. My research contributes to this conversation by asking how early medieval female readers responded to the educational discourses on gender which they encountered in the female-led classrooms of women's religious institutions. The thesis is also innovative in its proposal that Hrotsvit's book of saints' legends was written in imitation of Ovid. Overall, the dissertation revises current understandings of the sex/gender system in the Ottonian period, demonstrating that ideas which resemble the social construction of gender were circulating centuries earlier than previously thought.« (Source: Thesis)

  Abstract (p. ii)
  Acknowledgments (p. iv)
  Chapter 1:
Sum animal capax discipline: Gender and the Reception of Hrotsvit (p. 1)
    Hrotsvit: Background and works (p. 11)
    Hrotsvit and classical reception (p. 18)
    Hrotsvit the Christian: Education and religious philosophy (p. 27)
    Hrotsvit and gender (p. 31)
    Thesis trajectory (p. 39)
  Chapter Two
Chapter 2:
"Subject to Confusion": Destabilizing Gender through Genre in Hrotsvit's Terentian Comedies (p. 44)
    Reading Hrotsvit's reception of Terence: reassessing the question of genre (p. 45)
      Style and form (p. 45)
      Early medieval understandings of Terentian comedy-subject matter (p. 55)
    Gender and genre in Hrotsviths plays (p. 69)
      Hrotsvit's statements on gender (p. 69)
      The early medieval context (p. 71)
      Intersections of sexuality and gender in Terence and Hrotsvit (p. 75)
      Destabilizing reception: gender and genre in Hrotsvit's Terentian plays (p. 78)
      Conversio Gallicani principis milicię (p. 83)
      Passio sanctarum virginum Agapis Chionę et Hirenę (p. 91)
      Resuscitatio Drusianę et Calimachi (p. 100)
      Lapsus et conversio Marię neptis Habrahę hermiclę (p. 109)
      Conversio Thaidis meretricis (p. 121)
      Passio sanctarum virginum Fidei Spei et Karitatis (p. 129)
      Gender destabilization and form: concluding thoughts (p. 133)
  Chapter 3:
Communi similis conamine voti: Gender and the Reception of Virgilian Epic in Hrotsvit's Liber Tertius (p. 135)
    Hrotsvit and the early medieval reception of Virgil (p. 143)
    Gender and the Virgilian paneygric epic in the Carolingian period (p. 154)
    Women and politics in the Carolingian Virgilian epic (p. 163)
    Symbolic treatment of women in Carolingian Virgilian epic (p. 177)
    Women and politics in Hrotsvit's epics (p. 182)
    Symbolic treatment of women in Hrotsvit's epics (p. 187)
  Chapter 4:
The Christian Metamorphosis of Ovid in Hrotsvit's Book of Legends (p. 194
    Ovid, Hrotsvit, and divine change (p. 200)
    The early medieval reception of Ovid (p. 204)
    Ovidian elements in Hrotsvit's praefatio (p. 218)
    Hrotsvit and the Ovidian vocabulary of divine change (p. 223)
    Ovidian change and gender in the Hrotsvit's book of legends (p. 228)
    Conclusion (p. 240)
  Bibliography (p. 242)
    Primary Sources (p. 242)
    Secondary Sources (p. 248)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Germany / Kingdom of Germany | Literature: German literature / Hrosvitha | Literature: Rape in fiction | Sex and the law: Rape / History of rape