Review by Choice Review
The editors of these essays on medieval women's literacy and spiritual leadership offer 11 contributions in a dialogue format, pairing each paper with responses from scholars advocating diverse approaches. This results in illuminating and thoughtful studies, mostly positive, but occasionally provocative, requiring writers and readers to question evidence and expand their views of what it is possible to know. Topics include St. Augustine's correspondence with women, writings in nuns' libraries, the measurement of women's creative intelligence, and vernacular theology and preaching. C. Stephen Jaeger and Giles Constable conduct an extended dialogue on the letters inconclusively identified as Abelard and Heloise's early love missives. Two exchanges focus on women's roles in Lollardy, and another two examine the Bridgettine order's reading of liturgy and theology. The final pair of dialogues studies the writing and preaching of Margery Kempe. The dialogue format of this work of sophisticated literary and historiographical analysis provides modern readers with the tools to engage directly with the authors' findings, revealing the rich heritage of medieval female readers. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. L. C. Attreed Holy Cross College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.