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Special Collection

Authors, Narratives, and Audiences in Medieval Saints’ Lives

Collection launched: 31 May 2017

This special collection focuses on the composition of saints' lives in medieval literature. Alongside allowing their authors to explore and express their faith, the writing of saints' lives provided opportunities to explore subjects such as the foundation myths of religious communities, travel and exploration, and gender and sexuality. Saints' lives were also an ideal medium for reaching a wide variety of audiences. Not only were these texts suitable for consumption in a range of situations ranging from public performance to private contemplative reading, but they also facilitated communication between religious and lay communities, which would not have been possible through other means.

The collection aims to bring the spotlight onto saints' lives as an exciting and innovative narrative medium and a means of communication in the Middle Ages. Articles have been invited to reflect upon the self-fashioning of the religious communities that produced saints' lives, as well as the relationship between audience and narrator constructed in texts in all periods of the Middle Ages and in all medieval literary languages.

Edited by: Katharine Handel (University of York)

Featured image by Peter Trimming under a CC BY license