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Revealing Female Participation in Literary Culture: Construction of an Online Database of Manuscripts Related to Women in the Low Countries (c. 1250–1600).

Women were integral to the intellectual landscape in the medieval and early modern Low Countries, in itself one of the main centres of literary and learned culture in Europe. Hundreds of manuscripts can, in one way or another, be related to female copyists, authors, commissioners, and book owners. However, the impact of women on the book culture of that period and the extent of their well-developed literary and intellectual abilities are inadequately studied. A prerequisite for future in-depth research on the roles of premodern women as cultural transmitters is the creation of an integrated, openly accessible database of current knowledge about female participation in literary culture. This proposed project intends to create such a database, which will eventually contain all the manuscripts created between c. 1250 and c. 1600, in the vernacular or in Latin, that show female involvement in any way. Heavily focused on material evidence in manuscripts, this database is the first of its kind. It will therefore serve as a pilot project that could be used to catalogue materials in other vernaculars throughout Europe. It will provide precise information on which women were particularly active in the literary field of their day, on what texts they produced and used, and on the diverse dynamics of women's literacy and erudition. It will reveal chronological, regional, and institutional patterns and unveil networks of female book production and circulation. The project will thus open up opportunities to revolutionize our understanding of the impact of women on the literary and cultural history of the premodern Low Countries, and by extension, Europe.
Date:1 Apr 2020  →  Today
Disciplines:Gender studies, Literatures in Dutch, Medieval literature, History of religions, churches and theology