Woman under monasticism : chapters on saint-lore and convent life between A.D. 500 and A.D. 1500


Woman under monasticism : chapters on saint-lore and convent life between A.D. 500 and A.D. 1500

Lina Eckenstein

(Cambridge library collection, . Medieval history)

Cambridge University Press, 2019

  • : pbk

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Reprint. Originally published: Cambridge : University Press, 1896

Includes bibliographical references and index



Feminist scholar and activist Lina Eckenstein (1857-1931) was educated in modern and medieval European languages, as well as classical and medieval history. She published on art history, and participated in archaeological excavations in Egypt alongside Flinders Petrie. During the 1880s, while working as a research assistant, translator and proofreader, Eckenstein embarked on her pioneering study of medieval convents. Based on close engagement with medieval textual evidence, but written from a secular, sceptical viewpoint, it was published by Cambridge University Press in 1896. Eckenstein argued, persuasively and with great originality, that religious life allowed medieval women educational and social opportunities similar to those that she and her contemporaries were campaigning for. In her view, the Reformation had seriously restricted women's freedom for several centuries, but she noted that the modern movement for women's education had now arisen in the societies most radically affected by the Protestant reforms.


  • Preface
  • 1. Introductory
  • 2. Convents among the Franks, AD 550-650
  • 3. Convents among the Anglo-Saxons, AD 630-730
  • 4. Anglo-Saxon nuns in connection with Boniface
  • 5. Convents in Saxon lands between AD 800-1000
  • 6. The monastic revival of the middle ages
  • 7. Art industries in the nunnery
  • 8. Prophecy and philanthropy
  • 9. Early mystic literature
  • 10. Some aspects of the convent in England during the later middle ages
  • 11. Monastic reforms previous to the Reformation
  • 12. The Dissolution
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix
  • Index.

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