The Monstrous and the Feminine Body in Medieval Culture


Rachel Steiner (Independent)

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that women were inferior to men. However, texts such as the De Secretis Mulierum , written by an anonymous follower of Albertus Magnus, and the Decretum of Burchard of Worms make it clear that women were not only inferior to men, they were also physically dangerous in a way that made them inhuman and monstrous. Through the analysis of these texts in to the female monsters of medieval culture, I will show how popular thought turned women into a monstrous subgroup who harmed men through their bodies.

Part of 34-07 The Construction of Gender and Sexuality in Folklore, Wednesday, October 20, 2:15 pm–3:45 pm