A King, Not a Servant: the Prose Life of St Katherine of Alexandria and Ideologies of Masculinity in Late Medieval England

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    Abstract

    St Katherine of Alexandria was the most popular female saint in late-medieval England. Studies to date have often focused on her relevance to women and considered what her life and cult tells us about ideologies of femininity. However, St Katherine was also a very popular saint with male devotees, and in some instances copies of her life are known to have been owned by individual men. Therefore this essay uses the popular fifteenth-century prose life of St Katherine to explore the contribution that interactions between piety and masculinity made to the social self-fashioning of affluent urban lay men. Drawing on ideologies of ideal kingship and their predication on masculine norms, it argues that the relevance of St Katherine to this type of man derives from her status as an exemplary ruler, especially the account of her household management.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500–1500
    EditorsSamantha Kahn Herrick
    Place of PublicationLeiden & Boston
    PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
    Pages397-416
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004417472
    ISBN (Print)9789004417267
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2019

    Publication series

    NameReading Medieval Sources
    PublisherBrill Publishers
    Volume4
    ISSN (Print)2589-2509

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