Review by Choice Review
In this latest addition to the "Manchester Medieval Studies" series, Phillips (Univ. of Auckland) employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine late medieval maidenhood, which she defines as the period between childhood and adulthood when medieval women learned proper feminine roles. This process of socialization is one main theme of the work. The second is the medieval image of the maiden as the perfect form of womanhood. Within this framework, Phillips analyzes the physical and psychological attributes of medieval maidens and their upbringing, work, sexualities, and voices. Within each of these categories, she carefully distinguishes between the various social and economic classes, although the distinctions of time and place are not always as clear. Phillips also deftly addresses the problems of sources (including scarcity and provenance), especially when she attempts to analyze the voices of these women. Furthermore, she places her work well within the context of recent scholarship and provides good notes and a thorough bibliography. Although the book assumes some background in medieval history, it is aimed at general readers and undergraduates. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Public and undergraduate collections. J. M. Pope Hiram College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.