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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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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    Lewis, K. J. (2019). A King, Not a Servant: the Prose Life of St Katherine of Alexandria and Ideologies of Masculinity in Late Medieval England. In S. Kahn Herrick (Ed.), Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500–1500 (pp. 397-416). (Reading Medieval Sources; Vol. 4). Leiden & Boston: Brill Academic Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004417472_021