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Ambivalent Images of Authorship
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Medieval Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1072-9538
2017 (English)In: , 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The paper deals with the question of Birgitta’s and Catherine’s status as authors and examines the visual representations of the two women, notably in the context of the books containing their texts. In the images of the two women found in the illuminated manuscripts, which began circulating just after their deaths in 1373 and 1380 respectively, and in the early printed copies dating to around 1500, Birgitta is generally represented with a pen in her hand, whereas Catherine is never depicted in the act of writing. This visual material emerges as a paradox when compared to the way the two women are presented in the texts. In the Revelations, Birgitta claims to be a medium and not an author, and she generally refers to herself in third person, or simply as “a person.” Catherine, by contrast, is constantly present in the first person in her letters which frequently open with “I, Catherine, write to you.” By focusing on the tension between the images of the two women and the way they are presented in their respective texts, this chapter will explore the role of the visual in shaping the notions of Birgitta and Catherine as female authors in a time when female authority was still highly controversial. The conflicting representations of their authorial role will also be connected to contemporary debates about their sanctity, where questions concerning human and divine authorship as well as ecclesiastical mediation and approval of the texts of these lay visionaries were of paramount importance. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
History History of Religions
Research subject
History; History of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147467OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147467DiVA: diva2:1145631
Conference
Sanctity and Female Authorship in the 14th Century and Beyond: Birgitta of Sweden & Catherine of Siena, Vadstena, Sverige, 9-12 August, 2017
Projects
Sanctity and Female Authorship in the 14th Century and Beyond: Birgitta of Sweden & Catherine of Siena
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, F16-1448:1
Available from: 2017-09-29 Created: 2017-09-29 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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