Madeline H. Caviness

Reframing Medieval Art:
Difference, Margins, Boundaries

Table of Contents:



Note to the Reader

Introduction: Soundings/Sightings

Chapter 1: Writing Women: Problematics of History and Language

Chapter 2: Norman Knights, Anglo-Saxon Women, and the "Third Sex:" The Masculinization of England After the Conquest

Chapter 3: Hedging in Men and Women: The Margins as Agents of Gender Construction

Chapter 4: Edging Out Difference: Revisiting the Margins as a Postmodern Project

Afterword: Social Control through Multivalent Images

Reader Comments


Chapter 1:
Writing Women: Problematics of History and Language

[0] Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' [But first God brought all the animals etc to man for him to name them] So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, 8216;This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.' [After the fall and God's curse] The man called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all living.216;This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.' [After the fall and God's curse] The man called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all living. Dixit quoque Dominus Deus: Non est bonum esse hominem solum; faciamus ei adiutorium simile sibi ... Immisit ergo Dominus Deus soporem in Adam; cumque obdormisset, tulit unam de costis eius et replevit carnem pro ea et aedificavit Dominus Deus costam, quae tulerat de Adam, in mulierem et adduxit eam ad Adam. Dixitque Adam: Hoc nunc os ex ossibus meis, et caro de carne mea: haec vocabitur virago, quoniam de viro sumpta est. ... Et vocavit Adam nomen uxoris suae Heva, eo quod mater esset cunctorum viventium. Genesis 2:18-23 and 3:20 1

"Through that which takes on body only by being the trace of a nothingness and whose support from that moment on cannot be impaired, the concept, saving the duration of what passes by, engenders the thing. ... It is the world of words which creates the world of things ... by giving its concrete being to their essence."
Jacques Lacan. 2

"body without voice ...; outside time, outside knowledge:...on the one hand, the aphasic pleasure of childbirth that imagines itself a participant in the cosmic cycles; on the other, jouissance under the symbolic weight of a law (paternal, familial, social, divine) of which she is the sanctified support."
Julia Kristeva. 3

This chapter will provide caveats for any who suppose that writing women into history and art history is a simple matter of "add women and stir." First, I problematize the notion of history through two case studies that demonstrate the extent to which historians, albeit always seeking the truth, have been emeshed in the values and accepted norms of their own society. Language and history have conspired to silence women; this is different than to say women have been excluded, a notion that will be examined in the next chapter (Spender, chapter 2). The historical choices and "inevitabilities" (given the nature of discourses) touched on here belong in a cultural superstructure. But language itself exercises hegemonies, and Bryson has cogently argued that signs belong in the base from which they can operate throughout the superstructure. 4 Whether because European languages developed while serving masculinist discourses, or because language mirrors ideologies, or because men have had a privileged relationship to the symbolic realm, our language is resistant to the elimination of hegemonic gender difference. This is not a place to engage in the older debates over causes, though they are reflected in the bibliography; I will be content to give a brief overview of the literature on the ways in which language intersects with gender, to add some reflections on medieval bilingualism, and to deal lightly with some practical issues of English word-choice.

History and/or Her Story?

Two case studies will show how effectively women have often been silenced in the process of textualizing histories. The exclusion of women from the historical canon is well known, and much revisionist work has attempted to correct this oversight. More compelling than simply adding women to the available accounts is an understanding of the conditions that had ensured their exclusion, as argued by Nochlin for modern artists. 5 With this in mind, I will tell two women's stories that were silenced in the modern construction of history, one of the French twelfth-century patron of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved, the other of an American philanthropist who endowed Tufts University at the turn of this century. Yet this is not done with the presumption that I am substituting a definitive "true" account for an incomplete or "false" one. These are my stories of the past. Putting them together reveals the ways in which medieval events and art have been mediated by nineteenth-century writing; medieval history is a construct permeated by the values of the period just before Mary Richardson struggled to improve education for women.

Figure 1.1a

The biographies of Agnes and Mary converged powerfully in my own life at mid-career: Agnes of Braine emerged from twelfth-century documents that I was examining in order to provide a context for the sumptuous painted glass that I had traced to "her" church (figs. 1 a, 2

Figure 1.2

; Caviness, 1990, ch. 3); and in 1987 I became the first person to hold the Professorship that Mary Richardson had donated to the university at the turn of the century. Quite unexpectedly, I also suddenly became the owner of her portrait, de-accessioned by the university because the subject was found unappealing (fig. 3

Figure 1.3

). Most of this book was written under her steady gaze, but now that it is done I am returning her to Tufts, with legal documents assuring me that her likeness will be treated like those of the male university presidents. 6


Both women had considerable agency as widows, commanding respect in their lifetimes. Their achievements stand on either side of a long period in Western history between the loss of women's rights to control property (as heiresses or widows) and the struggle to regain them (Anderson & Zinsser, 394-401; Offen, 1988; Bell & Offen, ch. 4). Their two individual stories took place in specific legal and social contexts that can only be touched on here. Taken together, as accounts of silencing, they give a glimpse of the history of women's subordination during a time that has often been presented as one of liberty and progress, following upon the creation of an independent United States and the French Revolution. The suppression of their roles coincided with the beginnings of the feminist movement, in France and in the US, and it may be part of the recuperative backlash that has accompanied these movements right up to our own time. "Being a patron," was naturalized as a male condition to the extent that serious consideration of an alternative possibility was blocked, just as we will see that this meaning is denied to the seemingly symmetric term "matron."

Both stories invoke the power of the unwritten in and beyond academe, and their telling belongs to the recovery of her story, a feminist project (Scott; Elam, 7); a revisionist article by Thompson is entitled "Why English Nunneries Had No History," and points to a scarcity of documents from the outset. 7 Several interventions in the discipline of art history are listed in the bibliography; "new" subjects include women patrons as well as artists, but revealed in isolation they cannot transform the discipline (Caviness 1996; Slatkin). 8 Some feminist interventions of the '70s and '80s have been reprinted in two collections by Broude and Garrard, but it is of note to medievalists that they limited their second volume to studies of Renaissance and later art. Gouma-Peterson & Matthew's summed up the "progress" in 1987, taking the position that feminist readings of canonical works had more to offer the theorist, and the field as a whole. Pollock has also distinguished between "adding women to art history" and the feminist call for a paradigm shift, pointing out that "Women have not been omitted through forgetfulness or mere prejudice. The structural sexism of most academic disciplines contributes actively to the production and perpetuation of a gender hierarchy" (Pollock, 1). I provide these instances of silencing as cautionary tales, to remind us of the power and longue durée of the biases that have constructed our visual environment and our texts, and the ways these do ideological work. For historians to have sung the praises of Mary Richardson or of Agnes of Braine -- to have made them part of history after they died -- would have been to encourage resistance to male domination. Offen has pointed out the advantages of historical insight for recognizing the differences among women, since it affords cross-cultural comparisons (Offen, 1990, 16). She took the thirteenth century as the point from which "men have systematically subordinated women," and laid in the open the extent to which feminist thought had been formed by the need to resist this pattern.

The first story involved bringing into full sight a woman's achievements that had been covered up. I reexamined the documents connected with the rebuilding of this Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved around 1200, and revealed that the dowager countess Agnes of Bar, Lady of Braine, who was a widow of Robert of Dreux the king's brother, had made large contributions to the building and furnishing of the church, and was credited in the middle ages as a founder (Caviness 1984; Caviness, 1990, 65-70, 150). The secondary sources, however, from the sixteenth century on, claimed the donations came from Robert of Dreux; in the mid-nineteenth century Agnes literally disappeared under the weight of history, in the form of large and authoritative printed works (King, Prioux, 1859). The automatic assumption that male patronage was involved has to be examined in light of the financial status of married women in post-Renaissance France, in order to expose the cover-up as integral to that social system.

The Premonstratensian church of Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved is in the village of Braine, which lies north of Paris -- just to the east of Soissons, on the road to Laon. I am using here the double dedication that is given in the medieval documents, rather than the single male appellate "Saint-Yved" that appears in the modern literature (including my previous writings), which was another silencing of Mary; in fact, if the documents around the time of building abbreviate the dedication, it is to mention only St. Mary and the glass and sculpture emphasized Marianic themes (figs. Intro. 4

Figure I.4

& 5

Figure I.5

). The cloister, all but one bay of the nave, and the castle that once stood to the west were demolished after the French Revolution, but the chevet and crossing of the church that remain, together with remnants of its sculpted portal (now reassembled on the interior of the west wall), attest to major enterprises of construction and decoration, comparable in scale to the Cathedral of Senlis, and exquisite in its detailing. Some of the stained glass, which was famous for its high quality in the middle ages and through the eighteenth century, has been traced to other sites. The collegiate library also had a considerable reputation before the French Revolution (Caviness 1990, 70-72).


I composed the following account of the Abbey's history after about 1130 from the few surviving copies of charters and other documents. By 1137 the Lady of the castle, Agnes of Braine, and her husband André de Baudemont (a seneschal of Thibaut II, Count of Champagne) had reformed the now-corrupt canons by bringing them under the new reformed Premonstratensian Order. Several gifts were made to the new abbey in the 1140s by King Louis VII, and the founders continued to deed annual revenues to the Abbey through the 1140s, eventually renouncing all their worldly goods to take monastic vows, André as a Cistercian and Agnes as a canon; in 1149 Agnes died in another Premonstratensian house, at Frontenille. This was the "Blessed" Agnes whose life was entered in the necrology of the order ( Vita beatae Agnetis , published in 1633 from a manuscript source now lost). This life celebrates her as the founder of Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved, names her four children, and gives her grand-daughter Agnes a major role in building the church.

Table 1

Because there has been a recurrent tendency to conflate the two Agneses, I am going to treat them like males: Agnes I and Agnes II (see genealogical table). Agnes I's son and heir, Guy de Braine, died before her, in 1145, and his daughter Agnes II became sole heiress at the age of fifteen or so, her two brothers having entered religious orders; during the four years before her death, Agnes I may have been an important mentor for her young grand-daughter. In fact the accompanying table was my first graphic attempt to trace a matrilineal descent. In 1150, the year after Agnes I's death, Agnes II made gifts to Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved in perpetuity for the cure of her own soul and those of her husband and children. By 1152 she was dowager-countess of Bar-sur-Seine and mother of two daughters; she may have been about twenty years old at the time. In 1152 the king's brother Robert lost his wife, Hadwisa, Countess of Perche (his only claim so far to title or revenues), the king gave him the castle and collegiate church of Dreux, not far from Chartres on the other side of Paris, and Robert of Dreux immediately married Agnes of Braine. These alliances established Capetian outposts that straddled Francia; and Robert gained another title and some access to Agnes' revenues.

Together, Robert I and Agnes II made several more settlements on the Premonstratensian abbey. Fig. 1a shows their seals as attached to a charter of 1158; this text refers to them as Count Robert, brother of the King of France "and my wife," but their seals title them quite independently as Agnes, Countess of Bar, and Robert, the king's brother. 9 In some charters the voice shifts to "Count Robert ... and I, Agnes" (Teusche, 32). Otherwise, Agnes is usually "Comitissa de Brana" in the charters. In 1179 the couple made provision for extensive revenues for an annual mass to commemorate another of his brothers, Henri de France, who had died as Archbishop of Reims in 1175. The titles and double sealing clearly express Agnes' autonomy at a time (prior to 1200) when "aristocratic and noble women independently sealed transactions of various kinds." 10 The images on the seals of Robert I and Agnes II, known from late seventeenth-century drawings by Gagnières, inform us of their gender-differentiated roles: Robert as armed knight and crusader, active and frequently on the move, could hope to earn salvation in holy war; Agnes, standing with a cross in her right hand, is restrained and dignified, even contemplative, and would rely for salvation on piety (fig. 1a).

Robert of Dreux died in 1188, leaving Agnes (at the age of about 55-60), and eight or nine offspring--two sons were already bishops. Other local families made endowments to the Abbey through 1206; one from a knight of Braine was approved, in 1202, by Agnes II (Caviness 1984, 539). She died in 1204, at the age of about 70-75 ("vielle et ancyenne" as Herbelin wrote later), having lived chastely as a widow for sixteen years. She was buried near the main altar, literally at the head of the dynasty she had founded, and her tomb effigy, mimicking her seal, survived into the eighteenth century (fig. 11; Caviness, 1990, 73; Teusche, 39, 141figs. 32-35). Only after the death of Agnes II of Braine did her daughter-in-law, Yolande de Coucy, change her seal image from a girl on a pony to the upright lady of the manor that had signified Agnes; Robert II had long since assumed his father's posture on his seal; indeed, his father had ceded Dreux to him in 1184 (Prioux 1846, 112). In a charter dated January 1208 (NS 1209) the abbot released Robert II and Yolande of all obligations to pay the annual revenues deeded by their ancestors to the church of Braine, except those that maintained the altar lamps and bell ropes; I took this as an indication that the construction and decoration of the church were complete, a suggestion accepted by Prache (Caviness 1984; Prache, 107). The revised dates of construction allow that Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved, far from showing a reaction against Chartres as Bony thought, may have been one of its precursors in developing a harmonious three-story elevation with blind triforium and quadripartite vaulting. 11 The bulk of the construction at Braine -- perhaps even all of it -- post-dates Robert's death in 1188, making it exactly coincident with the period of Agnes's autonomy as a dowager. 12

The gradual recovery of "women's history" has in fact revealed a number of parallels for Agnes's patronage of this sumptuous church in the twelfth century. Herlihy laid the groundwork in extracting from documents before 1200 information about women's ownership of land, their role as estate managers, and as donors to the church. 13 Nicolas Huyghebaert documented the very significant role married and widowed women had played in the foundation or reconstruction of monasteries in Champagne and Flanders in the eleventh century, in the face of prior scepticism. 14 Depending largely on tewlfth-century chronicles of Flanders as well as some records from France, Duby has recently outlined as typical the scenario of a pious widow exercising potestas -- "the power to command and to punish" -- sometimes in consort with her son. 15 He also points out that the husband of a dowager was "not entirely free in the exercise of his wife's power" (in fact she would have to enact charters with him). And the church's expectation that she persuade her husband or son to make gifts to the church would presumably be more easily fulfilled when she was the heiress in her own right. The most dramatic example of a heiress's control of her inherited lands is provided by Agnes II's sister-in-law, Eleanor of Aquitaine. On her divorce from Robert's brother, Louis VII, her duchy passed from joint administration with the French king to a similar arrangement with her new husband, the English king; and when she quarreled with Henry I, she ruled Aquitaine alone. 16 An important collection of essays, entitled Upon My Husband's Death , has revealed many instances of less wealthy widows keeping control of their sons' inheritance, through their own hereditary right or through marriage dower; yet, because of their power, they incited more gynephobia than married women and nuns. 17 In England, at least one rich and powerful widow, Maud de Lacy (d. 1289), who held the normal portion of one third of her husband's family lands in dower, used much of the revenue to support Augustinian houses for women. 18 King has also identified widows as a significant class of patrons in fourteenth-century and fifteenth-century Italy. 19

The Construction of a History without Agnes:

The story I have just told is based on surviving medieval charters, mundane records of commercial exchange that, being legally binding agreements, are likely to be factual. I did not discover any documents that had not been known to previous writers, yet the story had never been told that way before. Agnes II was so completely counted out that she had become an embodiment of Kristeva's quintessential Western capitalist woman as quoted at the chapter heading. Cixous examined the Chinese legend of the emperor's concubines who were faced with a choice between keeping silence or being silenced by decapitation; the West has its own ways of dealing with uppity women. Morrison has referred to the hermeneutic silence that surrounds medieval women and the ways in which it is filled, or how women are displaced: "Concerning women, some information is suppressed; in the suppression, other information is given. As did not happen in regard to historyless Jews, heretics, and servile orders, something was said in the silences that illuminated the assumptions underlying the modeling process--the hermeneutic method--by which the texts were formed" (Morrison, 159). In the case of Agnes II of Braine, the silence is not a medieval one, but a muting and displacement by later historians. In order to examine this process, I will begin with some pseudo-historical accounts that contributed to what might be called patriarchal mytho-genesis.

The first version of the patriarchal myth was put out by Matthieu Herbelin, a sixteenth-century canon of Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved, who wrote a family history of the House of Dreux for a female descendent, then Countess of Braine. His text exists in several de luxe manuscripts, one or two of them with illuminations, and it was liberally quoted in the nineteenth-century by Prioux. 20 In the very first paragraph, which constitutes a long title, Herbelin mentions not only the "genealogies ... of all the noble counts and countesses of Dreux and Braine" but also their descent from Louis le Gros and his son the "powerful Lord Robert, Count of the said Dreux, founder of the Abbey of Saint-Yved of Braine." 21 Although he had access to earlier chronicles containing, apparently, a different myth, Herbelin's narrative corrected the hagiographical tendencies in the treatment of Agnes II of Braine, mitigating her role as patron of the new church by the claim that Robert I of Dreux on his departure for the Holy Land left rents and revenues to construct and decorate it (quoted by Prioux, 1859, 11). Herbelin also disavowed her authority as Countess of Braine after her husband's death, altering the medieval account he seems to have had before him when he described how she called her son Robert to her deathbed: "And she had Master Robert summoned to her, her eldest son who was to rule after her" adding seamlessly: "and who had effectively ruled ever since the death of his father." 22 It was no longer possible, apparently, to imagine a woman as heiress in her own right maintaining control of her lands and revenues, regardless of her marital status. 23 By now, neither married nor widowed women had any direct civic representation, and sixteenth-century jurists claimed that the law excluding female heirs from succession to the throne went back to Frankish times (the so-called Salic law), whereas it had first been invoked in the fourteenth century, as Andy Lewis has pointed out. 24 Widows were provided with legal guardians, in part to prevent them giving their property to the church. 25

By the eighteenth century, the authoritative historical accounts, such as the Gallia Christiana , had claimed that a consecration of the church was documented in 1216, and that this signaled the completion of the building (Caviness 1984, 535). The late date excluded Agnes II from participating in its decoration. The next embellishment was that of Claude Carlier, in his three large tomes of the Histoire du duché de Valois , published in 1764. He simply stated that Robert II completed the vast and beautiful church whose construction his father had advanced at great cost but without being able to see it to completion. By that time -- and up the eve of the Revolution -- the few women who held seigniorial fiefs, including monastic houses, were theoretically represented in elections to the Estates General by male proxies, but no such elections had been held since 1614, so their rights were virtually forgotten (Landes, 106-107). 26 The mood of mid-eighteenth- century seems to be captured in William Blakestone's dictum: "the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during marriage," and little changed before the French Revolution despite the arguments of the Encyclopedists in favor of more equal partnership, (Bell & Offen, 30-36).

Women of all classes pressed for far-reaching reforms during the Revolution, to no avail (Moses, 14-15). The Napoleonic Civil Code of 1804 confirmed the dependent status of the wife; even if she had property of her own, she ceased to have control over it when she married (Bell & Offen, 39). From then on the women's cause fluctuated with the ruling party, the Liberals supporting petitions to change various aspects of the Code, such as the clauses exacting from the wife obediance to her husband, and giving him the right to sell her property; women even hoped to be given the same civil and political rights as men under the 1830 Charter, during the briefly revived monarchy (Moses, 104). This was also to time that a local cleric pleaded for the preservation of Braine, with its "royal" tombs, but he said nothing of Agnes's patronage. By 1839 Auguste Comte published his ideas about the division of labor in Paris. These had a great influence on his generation and beyond; I quote from the English translation of 1896: "biological analysis presents the female sex, in the human species especially, as constitutionally in a state of perpetual infancy, in comparison with the other; and therefore much more remote, in all important respects, from the ideal type of the race. Sociology will prove that the equality of the sexes, of which so much is said, is incompatible with all social existence . . ." (Bell & Offen, 220).

The fourth full version of the history of the founding and construction of Braine is that of Stanislas Prioux, a local antiquarian, who quoted the earlier accounts. 27 Following a 350-page history of Braine and its surroundings, published in 1846, his Monographie de l'ancienne abbaye royale Saint-Yved de Braine, avec la description des tombes royales et seigneuriales renfermées dans cette église appeared in 1859 in a folio volume, lavishly illustrated with scale drawings and color lithography -- "un livre important" that definitively textualized HIS story. 28 Much of the material on the Abbey Church seems to have been partially plagiarized from an equally sumptuous international publication of 1857 by Thomas King and George Hill. The physical presentation of these post-medieval texts gives them an authority that would have been lacking in the medieval chronicles, and that are certainly lacking in the little cartulary and the crumpled ink-blotched charters. As the Germans say "das steht im Buch." And as Prioux' volumes were increased in size over that of Herbelin, and gained authority from the printed word, so he codified Robert I's role: despite a lack of documents to date the new foundation securely, he wrote: "a process of deduction, and probabilities that almost amount to absolute certainties, authorize us to fix this date in 1180" (Prioux 1859, 12). 29 He went on to state that although Agnes was universally recognized as the founder, and that he ratified this view, Robert actively aided in the construction prior to his death in 1188---albeit at her request---and indeed prior to departing on crusade with his sons in 1187.

Prioux's admiration for royalty would have seemed conservative, if not outright reactionary, as a political goal for a Frenchman in the 1850s, but nostalgia was often channeled into historicism. Following the brief restitution of the monarchy in 1829, women had begun, as we have seen, to organize to improve their public standing, but "universal" suffrage was demanded only for males in the February Revolution of 1848 (Landes, 169-74); and it was ruled unconstitutional for a woman to run as a candidate for the legislature (Marks and Courtivron, 19). Given his nostalgia for Capetian France, Prioux would surely have been opposed to a women's movement that was increasingly regarded as radical: French feminists throughout the nineteenth century worked for "equality in difference," including a "redistribution of social and political power" (Offen, 1990, 17). The movement was so severly put down after 1848 that by mid-century "its leaders were all in jail or in exile (Moses, 229). It received another setback in 1871. By 1884 divorce was reestablished in France under a law that favored men (Marks and Courtivron, 21); and French wives did not gain the right to control their own earnings until 1907 (Moses, 229).

Prioux displaced Agnes of Braine by an account of Robert of Dreux that is highly romanticized. In fact, Robert of Dreux had neither the local land holdings to provide endowments for Braine nor much incentive for this kind of pious work. At times a co-donor (with his wife), he had a disastrous independent record of seizing church property, for which he was excommunicated no fewer than three times. Men of his generation went on crusade to save their souls; Lillich has found that they rarely made gifts to churches before a campaign, no doubt because of its expense; sometimes they made an ex-voto gift for their safe return. 30 Eventually, Robert I was not buried in Sainte-Marie et Saint-Yved, though he was perhaps represented with Agnes II in the stained glass above the altar, presenting the church to the Virgin; the names Robertus Comes, Agnes Comitissa were inscribed, but it is conceivable his son was intended. Robert I had no other memorial in the church, whereas Agnes and the next four generations of the house of Dreux were given increasingly lavish tombs in the choir and transepts. The result, eventually, would be to reduce the canons to chantry priests much occupied with masses for the souls of Agnes I and all her descendants.

Unlike Robert I, Agnes II had a considerable reputation for piety during her lifetime. Married women and widows, though deprived of the strict contemplative life, could participate in the religious life since chastity was regarded as almost equal to virginity. The new orders especially welcomed such women. There are indications that pious women ("lay nuns") were allowed to assist at the mass in some Premonstratensian houses. 31 Agnes herself undertook to convert the Jews of Braine by taking a beautiful Jewish girl into her household and instructing her in the Christian faith; when she could not believe in transubstantiation, Agnes called on the local bishops for help, and a miraculous appearance of the Christ Child in the host occurred; the host was kept as the main relic in the church (in fact supplanting the original patron, St. Yved, whose relics were left in the capella in the castle until the 1240s); and the main street leading the church was named the rue des Juifs. Bynum has shown that these eucharistic miracles usually occurred at the instigation of women, and they helped the church defend itself against the Albigensian heresy. 32

I have now retreated into the matriarchal mytho-genesis of twelfth-century hagiography, a type of source material that has been excluded from modern definitions of history writing, and even narrative discourse. For instance, White supports the prevalent view that medieval annals and even chronicles fail to attain full narrativity of events: "The chronicle typically promises closure but does not provide it -- which is one of the reasons why the nineteenth-century editors of the medieval chronicles denied them the status of genuine 'histories'" (White, 16). What he overlooks (because they were so long ago excluded from the historical canon as not being 'true' enough) is that saints' lives meet all the requirements, including the kind of closure seen at the end of Agnes' life, for a discourse by which, in his terms, "the conflicting claims of the imaginary and the real are mediated, arbitrated, or resolved." Reconstructed from fragments that escaped post-Renaissance male revision, the foundation myth of Braine went as follows: Beata Agnes's church was built in seven years by thirteen masons, one of whom refused his pay; at its consecration an angel took the asperge from the Archbishop and completed it for him. It was Agnes who "began the vast construction that we see which serves as the church, decorating it and carrying it to perfection at immense expense but with even greater piety; one would scarcely believe it could be finished in a century." The medieval account is lacking in dates, but it has a mythic truth that could not be entirely usurped by later history writing, even though it was suppressed.

It seems to have been unthinkable --or unspeakable-- from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, that a twelfth-century wife, or widow with a living heir, could have controlled the means of production to build and endow a large collegiate church. I have rephrased Biesecker's question: "what play of forces made it possible for a particular speaking subject to emerge?" to shift attention to the process of silencing, concentrating on the forces that made it impossible for a particular subject to be given a voice (Biesecker, 161). Although I have contributed to what she terms the "affirmative action" project, by adding a '"great woman" into the "official record we call the canon," I have also in a broader essay scrutinized the varied limits placed on women's control of artistic projects in different times and places in Western medieval culture (Biesecker, 155-56; Caviness, 1996). 33 Such control rarely produced visible tensions or other subversive signs in the work, and this should not be surprising: Medieval women patrons were of high ecclesiastic or secular rank, and as such colluded with the dominant power structures and ideologies of Western Christian culture. Thus the "discovery" of an Agnes of Braine may have done no more than to reveal a "token woman" of the twelfth century, in the sense used by Rich, that she wielded that " false power which masculine society offers to a few women who 'think like men' on condition that they use it to maintain things as they are. ... The token woman is encouraged to see herself as different from most other women, as exceptionally talented and deserving, and to separate herself from the wider female condition; and she is perceived by 'ordinary' women as separate also: perhaps even as stronger than themselves." 34 This turns out to be a remarkably accurate description of the Agnes of Braine who emerges from her contemporary chroniclers' accounts; she and her grandmother were outstanding examples of compensation.

Yet the displacement of her story by "history," through the nineteenth-century restructuring of 'legend´ as modern historical discourse, was necessary for the restoration of the church building itself; by 1820 it stood in ruins, abandoned. Had it been a "nunnery," it most probably would have disappeared, silencing women's stories. Because it contained the tombs of the house of Dreux, a campaign was launched by royalists in the 1820s to have it and them restored. The appearance of Prioux' impressive volume thirty-five years later coincided with the major work of restoration, its measured drawings surely made for that purpose. It may even have been intended---as my late colleague Margaret Floyd suggested---to help raise funds to complete the work. The decision already had to be made to demolish the ruined nave--for lack of funds and because such an immense church was not suitable to the parish. But by 1865, the rest of the building lacked only stained glass to replace the dispersed original windows, and it has come down to us in very sound condition. Now, with the crisis over, we can safely displace the men's tales that had silenced Agnes II.

Patriarchal myths, however, have continued to flourish. When I presented some of this material at a conference in Princeton organized by Jordan, he pointed out that important material concerning Agnes II was included in his recent book on the Jews in France. I hastened to look up Agnes in his index, and found nothing. 35 Assiduous reading brought to light an unnamed "countess dowager," widow of the king's brother, who had been accused of protecting a Jew from justice in return for a bribe in her domain of Brie-Comte-Robert. 36 Beginning a decade before Jordan's book came out, warnings against characterizing women as owned and unnamed ("John's wife ... Ed's widow") had been issued and reiterated (Eakins & Eakins, 117; Smith, 46-47). 37 A book that came out the same year provided guidelines for nonsexist usage: "... objectionable practices to guard against include entering the names of women solely under the names of their fathers or husbands; omitting significant women figures ....". 38 Jordan suggested to me that if Agnes had received a bribe from the Jew, she might have been persuaded to spend the ill-gotten money on the church in Braine to avoid further penalties. Yet there is an intriguing symmetry between the legend that Agnes had served the church in the conversion of the Jews, and the charge that she was too lenient with them. The Abbey church at Braine may have protected her by affording a site of memory for the miracle of conversion, but the miracle itself provided reason enough for her to construct such a sumptuous church in her own back yard, and she had ample revenues at her disposal to do it. It seems that Agnes II was both revered for her initiative and piety in the late twelfth century, and vulnerable to false accusations. In the 1190s, when she was engaged in her building project, the kingdom of Francia suffered natural catastrophes, and the crusaders were driven out of Jerusalem. The church found various groups to blame for God's wrath: when the issue of the king's bigamous marriage had been settled, there remained heretics, Jews, and women. All were vulnerable because of the gaps in the record.

The Well-hung Campus

My second story of silencing picks up the trail in the mid-nineteenth century, when Prioux had brought Agnes to her nadir, and it will confirm that some twentieth-century scholars have continued to obey the precept "mum's the word" when it came to recognizing the achievements of women. There is also a strong element of backlash, even though this Mary is a more ordinary subject than Agnes, as also is the original setting for her portrait compared with Braine, (fig. 3).

Figure 1.3


The collectivity known as the Medford campus of Tufts University has built its own image in stone and brick on the hill provided by its nineteenth-century founders (the Tufts, its father and mother who lent their name to it). In numerous publications over the years it represents itself to the community, and each selected and reiterated view is a metonymy for the whole school. Two nineteenth-century structures have become signatures: Ballou Hall, which houses the administration, and the Chapel. Each has remarkably phallic components; there's a kind of naiveté in the forms of the columnar porch and the chapel tower -- too obvious to be true, until you reflect on their historical associations, on one hand with the ancient phallocratic cultures of Greece and Rome, on the other hand with a church that for more than a thousand years excluded women from its priesthood. And as you cross the top of the hill behind Ballou a canon is framed between the "big house" and the chapel tower.

For centuries, long before they came to the Americas to take virgin land, European fighting men and monks prized hill-tops. The Bayeux embroidery, celebrating the Norman conquest of England in 1066, takes no account of fertile valleys. Mount (mons) and the female pubic area are the same in Latin. Hill-top forts are like chess pieces to be taken. Monks retreated from women to inhospitable crags like Mount Athos. As we now understand exclusion of women, this isolation reinforced their gynephobia; the shared denigration of women was a part of male bonding among monks and military alike, as I will discuss in chapter 2. Women still cannot visit the monastery on Mount Athos.

The hill-top site of Tufts has developed over time. 39 Many years after the foundation of the men's college, in 1852, it experienced the disturbing presence of women students. Prioux's treatment of Agnes of Braine in the late 1850s is symptomatic of a widespread resistance to the advancement of women. Thus, despite the Universalist church's insistence on the integration of women in their educational foundations, Tufts had held out as a one-sex school until 1892. As is now known from the accounts passed on to us in Miller's published history of the college, women were feared: the Trustees claimed that the numbers of male applicants did not grow as rapidly as female because of the girls' school aura, and when the number of women reached 100 (to 250 men) they became anxious that the College would "practically become a school for women" (Miller, 186-187, 205). And the women did too well academically, humiliating the men by taking the top places in each class. But there were ways of keeping women in their place. Dormitories were needed for both sexes, as the student bodies grew. In 1872, a resplendent neo-Gothic West Hall opened as a men's dormitory, and it still dominates the skyline. The counterpart of dominance was domesticity. To make way for West Hall, a wooden house dating from 1857 that had originally served as a men's hill-top dorm had been moved down onto a muddy track on the margins of the built campus, just above some farmland that was cultivated by the faculty (now the playing fields). This house on Professor's Row became the third women's dormitory, opening in 1910 after an addition. It is still "beyond the pale," that is outside the elegant iron fence that bounds that side of the "real" campus. This third house was named for Mrs. Mary A. Richardson, a benefactor of Tufts who died that same year, 1910, at the age of seventy-three.

Representational art is just as important as the built environment in both reflecting and constructing social values. The permanent array of unrelentingly white male portraits hung on an upper floor of Ballou Hall seems to cast doubt on the presence of women on the hill; in the mid-seventies when I was a junior faculty member, there was a woman provost, Kay McCarthy, and a black Dean of the faculty, Bernard Harleston; but there never has been a president at Tufts resembling either. As far as any of us knew at that time, the University only owned one portrait of an autonomous female, a large decorative painting, in deep glowing colors, of a girl pushing her doll in its pram, entitled Rosemary in Costume. For some years it hung in Ballou outside the admissions office, where potential students waited for their interviews. There, it would have given special bite to questions addressed to women applicants about their ambition to become an orthopedic surgeon, or a business executive.

Yet when Eaton Memorial Library opened on the top of the hill in 1908, it contained a number of books donated by Mary A. Richardson, and her portrait in oils signed Emily H. White (fig. 3). Even so, women were not yet secure at the top of the hill. Between 1896 and 1910, they were awarded WA degrees: Woman of Arts as opposed to Bachelor of Arts (Miller, 206). Perhaps they were lucky it was not Spinster of Arts. 40 These were the years that their presence in direct competition with men was much resented, and by 1910 "the change from coeducation to segregation," as one alumnus put it, had been effected by the foundation of Jackson College for Women, housed in Miner Hall at the east end of the hill. This anonymous contributor to the Tufts College Graduate , a self-styled "greybeard who has watched the progress of events at Tufts for more than thirty years" supported the decision in that "The contest in scholarship will be upon the lines of like with like. The women as well as the men will profit in their classroom instruction by the adaptation of the subject-matter of a course to their own peculiar needs and nature." The editorial let it be known that a number of pre-vocational courses were being introduced in the School of Liberal Arts (the men's school), including Business, Law, Medicine, Teaching, and even Organized Philanthropy. College President Frederick Hamilton had got his way, despite the expense of segregation, which involved duplicating staff.

Mary Richardson's anonymous obituary appeared in the alumni bulletin that carried this news, and also a long sermon that Hamilton had preached before the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in the Old South Church, Boston. His theme was "the soldier's place in civilization." It gives a significant insight into the mentalité of Tufts culture at this moment of segregation. Hamilton found "Man in his origin is necessarily a fighting animal." He praised the ancient Egyptians and Romans for subduing "barbarians." He concluded that "a survey of the history of the world shows, then, that the builders have always worn the sword. ... only under the protection of the fighting man [could] the scholar do his work, the jurist preside over the dispensing of justice, the artisan pursue his craft in peace, the scientific man conduct his researches, the Church carry on her divine mission of teaching and saving, [and] the lives and welfare of women and children proceed unharmed" (emphasis mine). He ranted against the terrible barbarism that still threatened Africa and Asia, where uncivilized peoples had to be controlled by military garrisons. Segregationist through and through, Hamilton discriminated on the basis of race and gender, and (judging from his omission of their labors) class.

Mary Ann Richardson was one of a handful of women who rallied to save women's education at Tufts. She was born in 1836 in Plymouth, MA, the daughter of Capt. Robert and Ann Robbins Cowan. In 1855 (at 19) she married William Augustus Richardson, and about 1864 moved to Worcester, MA, with her husband, where she was active in the First Universalist Church. Her formative years coincided with the first advances of the women's movement in the U.S. and England, which culminated in the Married Women's Property Acts of 1870 and 1882 (Bell & Offen, 279-313). 41 The first International Women's Congress had been held in Worcester in 1850, and it is quite possible that she met some of its organizers when she moved there fourteen years later. 42 College education for women was another major advance of these years (Bell & Offen, 299, 413-438), and it was strongly advocated by the Unitarians. The pastor of the Universalist Church during the first two years of the Richardsons' residence in Worcester was married to Ada C. Bowles, who later became a pastor herself. 43 "Universalist" women's philanthropy was celebrated in a small book published in 1882, yet the author lauded these female benefactors for their lack of "desire for publicity." 44

Mary's husband entered the armaments manufacturing business when they moved to Worcester, a trade which did very well in the Civil War. In 1874 he formed the company of Harrington and Richardson Arms. 45 The Richardsons had no children, and according to one obituary, after her husband and his partner both died in 1897, Mary Richardson "took a personal part in the management" of the business, which was by then housed in a large brick building on the corner of Park Avenue and Chandler Street (Anon. Tufts, 29). The business continued to expand, with additions to the "shop" about 1900, and Mary Richardson's funeral was attended by "a delegation of several hundred of the workmen form the factories of Harrington and Richardson of which Mrs. Richardson was the head" (Anon. Universalist).46 She seems in fact to have served as one of three directors, the others serving as president and treasurer. 47

Richardson was a great benefactor of Universalist causes, including the universities that frequently supplied pastors and preachers to her church, as well as the church itself. In a rare interview that she granted to a Worcester newspaper in 1905, concerning a gift of $1000 to the Franklin Square House in Boston, we have the only "sound-bite" of her voice that seems to be preserved (albeit mediated by a journalist): "My husband and I were always interested in Universalism. Dr. Perin [the president of the corporation] is a Universalist. The Franklin square house is non-sectarian and we are interested in its work for young women." 48 It is curious to hear her still speaking as we, though eight years widowed, and no mention was made during her husband's lifetime of his interest in "work for young women." The symmetry with Agnes of Braine, whose husband was credited with having initiated the rebuilding of the church in Braine, is ironic when we consider that Mary Richardson accompanied her pastor on an art tour of Europe in 1905, but even if they had happened on the little town of Braine she could never have learned of Agnes's true role. 49 As with Agnes, the memory her own donations scarcely outlived her. Her obituary in the Tufts College Graduate for 1910 mentioned two Tufts institutions that bore her name, in addition to the Richardson House dormitory for women. In her lifetime, she had pledged a gift of $40,000 to endow a named professorship at Jackson College, and the interest on the first installment was used for the scholarship fund, at a time when annual tuition was below $125 (Miller, 200-201, 330). Her gifts were comparable to those of P. T. Barnum, and Thomas and Mary Goddard for whom substantial stone buildings on the top of the hill are named (Miller, 135, 137). Yet one anonymous author seems to foresee the erasure of her name, noting that : . . . "many of her benefactions were so quietly accomplished that they will never be known" (Anon. Tufts, 29). 50 Indeed, nothing was heard of her professorship for seventy-five years. The endowment had disappeared into the general coffers long before I was named to the chair, as its first incumbent, in 1987. By then her portrait had been put into storage; bearing no identifying mark except the artist's signature, it was at some time classified in the Tufts art collection as a questionably American painting, "Portrait of an Unidentified Woman;" 51 it was subsequently de-accessioned, even when its identity had been reestablished.

Here is the story of that memorable occasion, and the events leading up to it. In the fall of 1988 I gave an inaugural lecture as Mary Richardson Professor. Dean Mary Ella Feinleib gave a brief introduction to the ramifications of the title, and showed a slide made from the photograph published in The Tufts College Graduate in 1910. The elderly woman was immediately recognized by two female colleagues as the sitter for an oil portrait, signed Emily H. White but with no record of the identity of the subject, which was about to be sold off at auction to realize funds for the improvement of the art collections. The next day, the curator of the university art collections withdrew the picture from the sale, since it evidently belonged at Tufts. A few weeks later, I was mysteriously called up the Hill to a ceremony in the Conference Room in Ballou; Vice President Bob Rotberg presided, with Dean Mary Ella Feinleib and three or four other women in attendance. They made delightfully wry comments about my love of kitsch, and he presented me with the eponymous portrait of my professorial title, Mary A. Richardson. Derisive comments directed to her "likeness" referred to battle axes, gun-runners, and five-o'clock shadow.

This of course was censorship, but of a kind that has been naturalized in art historical discourse, whereby aesthetic codes rather than content are found objectionable; it was a "bad painting." Removing the portrait from Tufts, instead of labeling it and hanging it in a prominent place, deprived the chair of the status and public identity it might have had, or was intended to have, through an exchange between title and name. How different for my husband, the Kennedy Professor of Child Development and Mental Retardation at Harvard Medical School, who holds department meetings at the Massachusetts General Hospital in a board room dominated by the portrait of John F. Kennedy (the fact that it is a replica makes no difference in this economy).

When I examined Mary quietly at home it became apparent that traces of black pigment in the crackelure of the paint around the upper lip -- the infamous five-o-clock shadow -- were the result of a mustache having been added at some time. I took her to Morton C. Bradley Jr., a very sensitive paintings restorer in Arlington, who removed the paint and dirt and helped me to identify the painter, who was also being "silenced" by this de-accessioning. The artist for whom Mary Richardson sat as she approached seventy years of age was younger by about twenty-five years: Emily H. White was born in Illinois in 1862 and died in California in 1924. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago with Jules Guerin, and later in Ogunquit, Maine, with Charles H. Woodbury who also taught at Wellesley College. She was classified in the American Art Annual for 1924 as a miniature painter, which has a feminine air about it. She was not quite up to the task of a large portrait, but perhaps this benefactor after whom Tufts' residence hall for women was named had particularly wanted to give the commission to a woman artist.

A male artist might have been perplexed how to flatter this seasoned company director, a woman did not have to. Much as she may owe to Boston's most popular portraitist, John Singer Sargent, White was unrelenting in her matter-of-fact rendition of wrinkles and graying hair in a way he was not; among his few portraits of older women, his rendering of Mrs. William Crowninshield of 1901 gives her an air of elegance, her lace exquisitely lit, her setting spacious. By contrast, Richardson's face is brought alive by these marks of living, yet her surroundings, and even her clothing, are so impressionistic that they become non-specific, betraying little of her social standing. As an older woman, wrinkled, severe, thwarting the male gaze that had hoped for sensuality, challenging the definition of femininity that was asserted by segregation, Richardson would have been a target for derision.

The problem with Mary was that most of the images we encounter from day to day, in newspapers and magazines, movies and TV, billboards and store windows, as well as in a college portrait collection, confirm that men are powerful subjects, whereas women are pleasing objects. Powerful men can scowl at the world; submissive women smile. Images of women that challenge these naturalized differences are problematic. Already in 1513, the Flemish painter Quentin Massys made a satirical representation of an "Ugly Old Woman," with wrinkled, masculine features, but with the low-cut bodice of a young sex object. 52 And recently Pierce Butler reacted negatively to a representation of one of the last great autonomous war ladies of the middle ages, Mahaut of Artois: "Judging from the features of a statue representing Mahaut ... the countess was a woman of large and commanding figure, with features rather masculine and strongly marked in their regularity. If one may say so, the sculptor has drawn for us Mahaut's character as well as her features; she was of the masculine type, strong and energetic rather than lovable. ... No niche awaits her among the heroines of France, for she is a figure neither heroic nor romantic." 53

Missing some of the traits expected of the feminine, and finding instead an unsettling androgyny, some of Mary Richardson's viewers in that era of precise gender definition around 1910 (and later) seem to have been quite perturbed. Only art that creates anxiety in the viewer provokes vandalism or iconoclasm. It is startling how much Mary looks like Freud in drag in a doctored photograph published by Steinem a few years ago -- a reversal that also defamiliarizes standard notions (figs. 3

Figure 1.3

& 4

Figure 1.4

). The joke of giving Mary a mustache would settle the gender question, and laughter at her expense would allay the anxiety about her masculinity.


On the other hand, Atwood has understood the power acknowledged in bestowing a mustache. In Cat's Eye , published in 1989, her narrator is an established painter who is returning to her girlhood home for a retrospective exhibition of her work. She describes the effect on her of finding a poster for the show with a mustache added to her own face. 54 She admired the draftsmanship of whoever drew it: "Whoever drew this mustache knew what he was doing. Or she: nothing precludes that." And she gradually came to like it:

"I suppose I should be worried about this mustache. Is it just doodling, or is it political commentary, an act of aggression? Is it more like Kilroy Was Here or more like Fuck Off? I can remember drawing such mustaches myself, and the spite that went into them, the desire to ridicule, to deflate, and the feeling of power. It was defacing, it was taking away someone's face. If I were younger I'd resent it.

As it is, I study the mustache and think: That looks sort of good. The mustache is like a costume. I examine it from several angles, as if I'm considering buying one for myself. It casts a different light. I think about men and their facial hair, and the opportunities for disguise and concealment they have always at their disposal. I think about mustache-covered men, and how naked they must feel with the thing shaved off. How diminished. A lot of people would look better in a mustache.

Then, suddenly I feel wonder. I have achieved, finally, a face that a mustache can be drawn on, a face that attracts mustaches. A public face, a face worth defacing. This is an accomplishment. I have made something of myself, something or other, after all."

Atwood's account serves as a reminder that Richardson achieved the status of a man in her mature years. That was what was wrong -- or very right -- with Mary. Defacement led to her effacement, but for a moment she had not been invisible. So too, Agnes II of Braine had been worthy of charging with fraternizing with the Jews just before she disappeared from his-story.

The period in which Agnes and Mary were silenced, 1860 - 1910, was crucial for the construction of medieval culture. Those who were left out may never be fully integrated because of gaps in their record. Women were especially vulnerable to being overlooked because our discourses reinforced each other. While legal decisions impinging on domestic rights in that period purported to be based on natural law, which justified depriving married women and widows of any control of property, it would be unthinkable that Agnes or Mary conducted themselves "like men" in their widowhood. 55 And any assessment of their roles had to begin with "She ... ."

Language and the Construction of Difference:

All our accounts and narratives, including those of art history, are constructed in language, indeed the dominant form of modern and postmodern discourse is verbal, so as an art historian I must reflect on the power of words even when the power of medieval images is my principal concern. This is especially apt now because the non-neutrality of language is being more and more frequently recognized in a variety of discourses, from theology and the sciences to history and the law courts (Cameron 1990; Papin; Wilden). 56

The main focus here is on linguistic asymmetries in the treatment of sex and gender difference, and I intend a provocative guide that will heighten awareness of this issue in the writing of art history. As one author put it: "The deprecation of women in the language is seen in the differing connotations and meanings of words applied to male and female things" (Henley, 81); her analysis, and many others, also covered words applied to male and female individuals. Thus I will end this section with some cautionary wordlists, and the first section of the bibliography includes a number of studies that reflect on gender difference in terms and titles. Asymmetric terms for women -- even the addition of an innocent-appearing suffix such as "...ess" can alert the reader to more profound levels of gynephobia in a narrative. 57

A concern with praxis in language choice is peripheral to the much larger but more speculative topic of gender difference in verbal expression, which has received more attention in the recent decade (Moi, 153-161; Cameron, 1998). Indeed these topics overlap if we in any way subscribe to the Lacanian view that the masculine viewpoint has controlled language, including naming; even if this theory was based, as some have suggested, in fear of women's linguistic primacy, the result has been male domination in naming and textualizing so that the language in which women have had to write is not conducive to their voices (Parker & Pollock, 1981, 114; Gilbert & Gubar, 1985, 515-16, 523-43; Cameron, 1990, 2-12). Yet my concern here is with "how words use women," rather than with "how women use words." 58 As seen in the last section, and again in the following chapters, women's' struggles to occupy a subject position in relation to language, whether as fictional characters, writers or critics, are paralleled in the field of visual images; they have more often served as objects than as subjects, artists, observers or cultural interpreters.

The vernacular biblical account of the creation in the second chapter of Genesis, quoted above, authorizes Lacan's assumption that men "naturally" controlled naming. The episode of naming at first appears as a digression from the creation sequence, inserted after God's observation that man should have a helper but before actually providing one; yet it makes clear precisely that Adam (who also suddenly receives a name, whether from God or self-chosen) named all the species of creation, just as he later named his wife, first Woman and then Eve. 59 And her two names are further problematic in that the generic term prevents her from becoming the subject of the temptation and fall, so that she must remain its instrument; she is recognized as an individual only after assuming the double burden of Adam's guilt and of bearing sons. I will return later to the process by which the vernacular version of this text had become increasingly masculinized, but it should be noted that even medieval readers of the Latin Vulgate could have overlooked the Hebrew derivation of Adam as a signifier for "person," treating it instead as a name. 60

Among those to read the biblical account of the generation of language literally was the anthropologist Karl R. Lepsius in 1880: "Because it is man who creates language, we generally find that the differentiation of genders is achieved by separating out the feminine" (quoted by Baron, 92). Daly launched her campaign for "a deliberate confrontation with language structures of our heritage" with a critique of this Genesis story, that "stole the power of naming" from women 61 . In a recent poem, "Eve, Learning to Speak" Beasley has re-presented the plight of a sentient being having no part in naming, and the deadening effect of learning language which has also colonized all named things. 62 Baron's first two chapters in a scholarly analysis of the intersection of language and gender are entitled "The Mark of Eve" and "Eve's Rib;" he demonstrates the extent to which this myth of language creation was accepted as the basis for Western linguistic studies throughout the post-Renaissance era: The masculine term has always been considered primary.

Recognition that biblical sagas are patriarchal constructions points up a similar difficulty with Lacan's formulation, despite his stated sympathy with the mute plight of women. 63 His essentialism was not, perhaps because of his expressed empathy, detected by his immediate followers, several of whom were women. The contributions of the French feminists--principally Cixous, Kristeva, Irigaray--and the relationship of their theories to those of Hegel, Lacan, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida and Barthes have been lucidly summarized by Sellers (1991). The essential tenets of this school have been that language plays a key role in structuring as well as encoding societal attitudes, and that it is a vehicle of domination. The corollary that changing language automatically changes social attitudes is too simplistic, as the critics who phrase it this way must realize; they well know the tactics of resistance that can accompany mandated change (civil rights legislation did not integrate our cities, and bussing did not integrate the Boston schools). It is all the more essential to continue to reflect on the inequalities encoded in language, and to bring pressure to bear on linguistic codes as well as on discriminatory practices. 64 When Pinker derides feminists for attempting to reform some usage, accusing them of "blam[ing] sexist thinking on sexist language," he misses the point that each generation learns its cultural attitudes in large part through language. 65 Ever since feminists began to wrestle with the problem of the English pronoun, their proposals have been ridiculed as "pronoun envy" (Pinker derisively lists ten alternatives I have scarcely heard of). 66 As Bodine has pointed out, earlier use of singular they was attacked and proscribed by grammarians who political agenda is clear with hindsight. 67 Yet, despite the backlash, as a Board member I have seen the bylaws of three learned societies rewritten to remove exclusive use of "he," with good effect.

Unfortunately, when "she" came into English use, in the mid-twelfth century, apparently because the older feminine "heo" was pronounced like masculine "he" (temporarily creating oral gender neutrality), then "he" became a gender-specific pronoun (except in some dialects). Neutral "ou" or "a" did continue, however, to have some currency through the high middle ages, and I have heard it used in English rural dialect; all we have been trying to do is to return to some such epicene pronoun (Baron, 198-216). 68 As this book unfolds, the historical symbiosis of terms and attitudes will become apparent; "she" was introduced within two or three generations of the Norman conquest of England, when women's status took a downward turn, and, therefore, may be said both to reflect and to perpetuate discriminatory attitudes. Simultaneously, some terms that appear symmetric went out of use, notably husbonde / husbonda (house-mistress and house-master) and wifmann / waepmann (female person and armed person; Baron, 32-35, 39). As Spender stated, "both language and material resources have been used by the dominant group to structure women's oppression, and they are interconnected" (Spender, 6). 69

There seems no reason to allow language to continue to be developed along lines that reinforce dominant power structures, and proposals for change, such as those by Maggio and by Frank and her associates, made in light of sensitive and extensive analysis, should be welcomed. It might be noted that in recent decades ethnic lobbies in the United States have succeeded in replacing offending terms by others--- and yet others---at least in public spheres (nigger, Negro and even black are seldom heard in the face of a pervasive search-and-replace with African American; similarly Indians have given way to Native Americans, though the term is not of their choosing). Women could benefit from similar campaigns of "language planning" (Frank and Treichler, 106-114). In the same way, observations by Kramerae, Lakoff and others concerning women's speech patterns, including lexical, phonological, syntactic and pragmatic traits, need not be essentialized, but can instead help us change both our expression and our underlying deference. 70 In defense of her discernment of gender difference in speech, Lakoff invoked the importance of cultural expectation and specific context (which might cause a man to "speak like a woman"), and the expectation that "we could shuck off deferential style just as we did hoop skirts and girdles." 71

How did language function in the middle ages in relation to gender? Linguistic pluralism in medieval cultures highlights some issues of class, gender, and ethnicity, while sharpening our perception of English. Sexual as well as class difference interacted with the polarities of Latin/vernacular and written/oral. Latin uses gender in very different ways than English; in fact of all the modern European languages, English insists most on the gender of the subject. 72 Gender is declared in English but hidden in Latin in two significant ways: the verb needs a pronoun (he/she saw cf vidit), and the possessive agrees with the gender of the owner as opposed to the gender of the object owned (his/her mother and his/her father cf mater sua, pater suus ).73 Another very important distinction, is that Latin homo, so often --as in the Standard Revised Bible quoted above--translated "man" and now frequently understood in English as a male suffix, was likely to be inclusive in the original (one might say without gender, except grammatically of course), and should be thought of as "person" or "human being" unless a male is clearly intended; Latin vir served as noninclusive man; Newman stressed inclusive usage in her preface to Sister of Wisdom , also taking care in that book to watch for instances in Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias, such as her reference to a human being in one of her visions of the Trinity. 74 And although Latin insists on gendered nouns, masculine and feminine, a third term, neuter, preempts an invasive polarization of m/f. 75 The gender of some sets of Latin words, such as Virtues (but also Vices) has had an impact on representations that personify them, even dignifying and empowering women in ways that few narrative images do. Yet Heldris de Cornüalle, the thirteenth-century author of the narrative poem Le Roman de Silence , could play with the idea that a daughter called Silence (in French) had no gender identity; her parents could name her Silentius (in Latin) to declare her their male heir, and if the subterfuge was discovered (s)he could be renamed Silentia, in accordance with nature. 76 Moves between Latin and vernacular often provided slippage and punning in the bilingual culture of the middle ages.

Vernacular translations of biblical texts were eagerly engaged in the early middle ages, but some were severely supressed by the church -- such as the Waldensian and "Lollard" bibles. A mid-thirteenth-century verse rendering of "The Story of Genesis and Exodus" begins by suggesting hedonistically that "Christian men ought to be as glad as birds are of dawn to hear the story," which is now taken out of Latin and put into "English speech," with small words. 77 Yet medieval attitudes to languages usually privileged Latin, which was used for liturgy, theology and most written documents. Indeed, it was one way the priesthood maintained its superiority and control over the laity. 78 Ong found that different terms were used for mother tongue, a spoken and therefore vernacular language in the middle ages, and the "birthright" (=national written, e.g.,. legal) language, which was Latin: lingua materna / patrius sermo(Ong, 36-37). He has also drawn attention to the ways in which the learning of Latin by young males in medieval and renaissance culture was aligned with the male bonding that occurs around puberty (Ong, 129-139). One might indeed say, as in object relations theory, that language and gender colluded in the rejection of the (m)other tongue. As Ong argued, Lingua, literally tongue, speaks of the physical agent of the production of sound as the mother's, whereas sermo (discourse) is metaphorical, referring to the ordering aspects of language and freeing it from its own utterance. The written code (the law of the fatherland) bypasses birthing as did Adam, and much as the biblical slogan "In the beginning was the word and the word became flesh" dismisses the primacy of the mother's tongue and womb. 79 It is curious that in a recent attempt to evade the pejorative phrase "native tongue," one international organization has insisted on a return to "mother tongue," which is equally problematic to a different social group. 80 Overing, quoting the confident claim made by Elizabeth Elstob in 1715: "But the language we speak is our Mother-Tongue; And who so proper to play the Criticks in this as the Females," argues instead that both Latin and the vernacular are "linguistic functions of the patrimony," and that a third language has to be learned to understand women. 81 Despite the inherent advantages of Latin over English as a neutral encoding of gender, writers such as Hrotsvit of Gandersheim and Hildegard of Bingen expressed discomfort in using the language of the Church Fathers. 82 After all, the dominant gynophobic discourse of medieval Christianity was quite adequately expressed in Latin.

One aspect arising from its general authoritative use, however, which can benefit postmodern work in the field, is the growth of medieval Latin philology. 83 Once accused of being "unscientific" because it claimed false derivations, it can offer useful insights into what we would now call slippage or resonance. For instance, whereas traditional linguists contested the resonance of the syllable "man" in modern English usage, denying that terms like chairman and mankind carry a gender bias, some surveys will be cited below that indicate the use of the male term is generally understood not to include women; the fact that one still hears jokes about trying to eliminate the male syllables from words like craftsmanship and boycott, or the lack of feminist concern with man-eating sharks, only shows that disturbing questions are being raised. 84 Medieval philologists would have understood the weight given to such cases; much was made of the vir (man) in virtus (virtue), virgo (virgin), and virago (warrior), states which it was said could strengthen women by making them more masculine. 85 Then, as now, tomboys fared better than sissies.

Women fared less well in post-medieval vernacular etymologies. Numerous commentaries on Genesis glossed the significance of difference, and of naming. Thomas More and a few followers even said the derivation of woman was from "woe to man," a sign of the misery Eve brought to the world, and for at least one eighteenth-century German etymologist, "Weib" stemmed from the Celtic "wautela," bearer of woe, or the Germanic "wyff," weaver (Baron, 34-35). 86 A Welsh contemporary derived woman from w-o-man, "an animal from man," giving wife (w-y-fi) the meaning "my animal" (Baron, 14). Such resonances are a powerful testimony to the fear of women.

Binary Polarities and Disymmetries:

Central to my concern for linguistic praxis is the current protest against the use of binary opposition. Habitual use privileges the first term in most pairs: up and down, light and dark, day and night, sun and moon; so also King and Queen, Lord and Lady, Mr. and Mrs. Wilden has argued that the "symmetrizing" of hierarchically related terms (such as "man" and "woman," or "peace" and "war") appears to neutralize them, removes them from value-judgement, and thus opens the way to false claims to inverted hierarchies. This charge has been taken up by Jeffords in a recent analysis; she has suggested that some male authors have taken over the rhetoric of victimization, as it appears in the feminist construction of rape, in order to appropriate women's suffering; in the Vietnam narratives she examines, the wounded male is metaphorically described as being like a rape victim (Jeffords, 218-19; she compared, for instance, the narrative treatment of a Vietnam vet in Larry Heinemann's Paco's Story (1986), with Maxine Hong Kingston's story of a Chinese girl war victim in The Woman Warrior {1977}). If the language of women's oppression is appropriated to describe the condition of men, they can be made to appear "discriminated against--in jobs, domestic relations, divorce and custody battles, as well as other cultural areas where traditional masculine roles are being questioned" (Jeffords, 219). Rush Limbaugh's Femo-Nazis are the other side of this coin, which assumes that women can wield power like men.

One symptom of women's lack of power is the tendency to assign the passive voice to them. Thus, in medieval iconographies, Christ ascends to heaven in "The Ascension," but the Virgin is assumed to heaven in "The Assumption." Since the medical profession took control of birthing, gynecologists (originally all male) deliver the babies -- from what I always wonder?-- and women are delivered of their babies by these doctors. Men labor in various spheres, but women go into labor. Men father children, in the sense of begetting them as in the biblical genealogies, but women's mothering is the seemingly less active provision of long-term care. Mothering, however, has been sufficiently highly valued at some moments in our culture for the term to be appropriated to men (because of the asymmetry with fathering). 87 As Bynum pointed out, many theologians of the high middle ages -- such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux -- referred to Jesus as Mother because of the eternal sustenance provided by his blood in the eucharist. 88

Asymmetries in language cannot be simply flattened out by declaring that "mankind" refers to all people, or that mistresses are equal to masters. The poet Graves declared long ago that "Of all feminine forms 'poetess' is the one I dislike most. It is used almost invariably in a quarter-gallant, three-quarter-contemptuous sense" (Graves, 117). However, the claim now being widely made, that polar opposites cover over inequalities, needs case-by case examination. 89 When I first encountered this caution, it seemed to me not to have much bearing within the discourse of art history; the Wölfflinian stylistic polarities, which dominated that mode of analysis for nearly eighty years, were gradually accepted as being of equal value, in synch with revisions in the canon. 90 On the other hand, there are plenty of terms used in connoisseurship that immediately expose the gender biases of value judgements, as dramatized in the asymmetry of "Old Masters" and "Old Mistresses" (Lakoff, 1975; elaborated in Parker and Pollock, 6, 80, 114). 91 Such asymmetries are even more numerous in social or contextual art history, since it is intimately concerned with power structures and commercial exchange (see table, below).

The master/mistress asymmetry is of a different kind than man/woman. In fact, very frequently in modern usage, words that define masculine roles have no female equivalent, and parity is impossible to regain because the female term has been demoted or even appropriated to a quite different meaning (such as mistress, governess, majorette). 92 Women thus occupy negative semantic space (Spender, 20; Smith, 46-48). In extreme cases, where what might have been a symmetric female term carries only an "other" meaning, foreclosing as it were on the possibility of symmetry, we might refer to an exclusional displacement. Some examples of displacement of the symmetric term in art historical vocabulary are listed below, such as patron/matron, patrimony/matrimony. Where possible, I have suggested a term with a different root that is neutral, such as distinguished artist for master/mistress.

In at least one case, terms which are linguistically symmetrical have both been appropriated to male subjectivity: Men are not only passively "feminized" but they actively "womanize;" and men are "emasculated," usually by a woman, when they lose their sexual drive, but they are also "effeminate;" "as females have never been named as sexual, there is no need for a specific name to denote the absence of sexuality, and effeminate is a superfluous term for females" (Spender, 176). The modern Oxford English Dictionary seems to have forgotten that women had anything to do with the feminine: Whereas masculine is defined as "having the appropriate excellences of the male sex; manly, virile, vigorous, powerful," feminine is negatively defined in relation to men as "womanish, effeminate;" and effeminate is "to make unmanly; to enervate. To grow weak, languish." 93 Femininity, it seems, can bestow no positive traits, even when men appropriate all its terms.

Another kind of displacement occurs with words that have multiple meanings, such as "mum" which can contribute to the process of silencing by a series of displacements. Pinker has recently claimed that the brain usually deals with one meaning at a time, blocking out the meaning that is not appropriate to the context to save memory space; 94 in this formula the "right" meaning completely replaces the "other," but this seems to be wishful thinking. Punning, for instance, depends on creating a linguistic context that allows ambiguity, and even when "other" meanings are pushed aside they continue to provide a resonance that may enlarge upon or interfere with the "right" meaning. Hence the normal meaning of the cockney saying "Mum's the word" is that silence (from mummers or mimers) must or will be observed (the word is used here as synonymous with rule or authority, the last word), with a hint of irony in the tension between silence and wordiness. But "mum" is a multivalent sign, especially in cockney English; the familiar term for mother, it is muffled by other signifieds. "Mum" can be a chrysanthemum (the right flower for a funeral). Hearing "Mum" as Mother would give her the position of authority, or even soar to the biblical heights of being herself the primal Word ("In the beginning was the Word" [John 1:1]), yet common sense would reject that possibility. The speaking Mum is silenced by exclusional displacement. Dad's the word would resonate differently; unlike mum, Dad is a stable signifier. It can only accrue phallic power through the baby's Dada, that French hobby horse whose phallic connotations are clearly spoken to in the English term, cock horse -- but this chain of signifiers masks rather than reveals the father's body. One the other hand the baby's "Mama" is a metonymy, reducing the mother to her breast (Latin mamma), as etymologists have liked to point out (Baron, 50).

Yet at the level of the designated classes of life, it is the female's ability to provide milk for her young that led to us being called mammals; "spermalian" or "testiculan" as sex-based alternative terms would link men (or all humankind) with lower forms of life. Some female animals have fared better than women linguistically. For instance, there are geese and ganders, ducks and drakes, but no separate terms for female geese or ducks, which thus appropriate the generic term. I speculate that this is because of the value placed on the egg-layer, which is, therefore, kept in larger numbers than the male (who is not needed for egg laying, only to fertilize eggs for breeding). If we have cocks and hens as well as generic chickens, it may be because of cockfighting, and the significance's of the crowing of the cock at dawn. 95 On the contrary, the high value placed on male horses (see ch. 2) gives us colts, stallions and geldings, with the generic horse often standing for a male, too (cf. filly and mare). And then there are the female pejoratives: vixen, sow, bitch (though at least there is a gender neutral term, "canines" that should be preferred to dogs).

Mind your Language!

In answer to the feminist critique, the claim has often been made that "man" sufficiently stands for both sexes, and that it is unnecessary to find (more) neutral alternatives, such as "humankind," "human beings" or "people" for "mankind." Yet several studies have indicated that young people in our culture do have males in mind when they hear "men"; in one group, the girls believed both sexes were included, but the boys took the literal meaning of men; another class, asked to make pictorial illustrations to a text that referred to "man," drew only male representations for this supposedly generic mankind (Frank and Anshen, 74; Eakins and Eakins, 143; Henley, 80-81). Related to this is the cultural norm that the subject position in a story is more likely to be male than female; everyday speech has been proportionately enriched to include any number of familiar but neutral terms to interchange with "This man came along and ...:" This fellow, this youth, this guy, this bloke, this codger .... . Terms that come to mind for "this woman ... " include a number of objectifying pejoratives: gal, chick, broad, skirt ... . 96

The table below is concerned only with terms for humans; many of the examples from ordinary life were first discussed by Frank and Anshen. 97 I do not include there the old Miss/ Mrs./ Ms. question posed by feminists with such intensity in the 1960s; it is now moot, since all these terms bring us back to a fundamental inequality with Mr. (Mister was Master, cf. Miss and Misses which were Mistress). 98 No colleges now give Maid or Woman of Arts and Mistress of Arts degrees to women, as some did in the nineteenth century, finding Bachelor and Master inappropriate (Baron, 174). Since women are referred to as Doctor and Professor, and now Reverend, perhaps they should also be plain Mr.

In the table, asymmetric terms that displace and exclude a true equivalent are in brackets. If one of any paired terms is demeaning or derogatory it has a strike against it: / ; very few of these are used for men, and in a good many cases the feminine "equivalent" is sexualized (a professional, vivacious, petite, virtuous). Vertical slippage (as between Governor, governess, and tutor) indicates how the term for the female has migrated down the social scale. Culling many sources in addition to my own observations, I find sexuality to be one of the most prominent areas of linguistic colonization; terms concerning genital and sexual difference are heavily loaded. Sexual terms in medical discourse are fully discussed by Spender in her chapter on "The Politics of Naming" (171-190), and Stanley is a source for more pejoratives than I can list. Several of the humorous gender reversals for Freudian terms are Steinem's, such as womb envy, testyria, and Old Ovariment. Lacan's use of "phallus," sometimes one suspects as a male physical attribute despite his protestation that it is metaphorical, has no female counterpart (cf. anatomical penis/vagina).99 It is worth considering whether the female crept into his concept of the "grand A" (the great Other) , which in English gives an "empty sign:" O. "Charwoman" is how I termed myself when I became untenured chair[man] of a very troubled department, because no man would take the job; I have always played with words as a form of self-protection. If the list jumps around between the serious and the witty or merely foolish, this is meant as a strategy to sharpen ears and eyes, in the hope that the third column will be memorable. The relatively few strictly art historical terms are purposefully embedded here, as they are in our everyday lives, in the larger context of semantic degradation.
term for men [non]equivalent term for women non-gendered term
male fe-male ---
man wo-man person
he she s/he thon or pl. they
his hers -- (prefer pl. their)
the boys or guys /the girls/gals young people
king queen /eg. closet - monarch
prince princess / e.g. JAP royal offspring
sir /madam or /dame ---
Mr Miss/Mrs/Ms Mr
Governor [/Governess] governor
tutor /governess tutor
steward /stewardess flight attendant
Major (military) [Majorette] major
drum major /majorette cheer leader
chairman [charwoman] chair, chairperson
poet (never male poet) /lady poet /poetess poet
artist /artiste artist
leading actor leading lady or /prima donna lead (or temperamental) performer
craftsman craftswoman artisan or craftsperson
author /authoress writer
Old Master (e.g. painter) [Old Mistress] important artist
seminal work -- influential work
to father (=beget) [to mother (=care for)] to parent
without issue /barren childless
-- /frigid reluctant
/impotent -- dysfunctional
/effeminate [/emasculating] cf. mannish androgynous
womanizer; Don Juan /head hunter /hustler /cradle snatcher sexual aggressor
stud /nymphomaniac /loose sexually active
cuckold(ed) -- cheated on
householder [housewife] homeowner (or -maker)
bachelor /old maid /spinster unmarried
/bastard illegitimate illegitimate
penis vagina his/her genitals
cf. phallus O (the great lack) ---
phallic [/hysterical] authoritative
/testyria /hysteria autosomal symptoms
penis envy womb or breast envy ---
penetrate (metaphor) envelop overcome
Old/New Testament Old/New Ovariment ---
patron [/matron] patron
patron saint -- patron saint
donor /donatrix person commissioning
history herstory the written past
hero /heroine protagonist
fatherland motherland or herland country of origin
patrimony [matrimony] heritage
manmade ( as environment) --- built
manpower --- work force
mankind/ men [womankind/ women] human beings/ people
lively [vivacious] lively
virtuous [=chaste] good
small [petite] small

Before I was born, a poet urged change; since only a few words on my list have really changed, he still has the last word:

"If a general rule must be laid down it is this: that wherever a noun is to be used to denote an occupation (say for example that of writing), and there is an available form, 'writer,' which has not varied with sex since medieval times, then a word that does vary, like 'author authoress,' should be avoided, or else the form 'author' used interchangeably for man and woman. For 'authoress' will have a ring of male prejudice in it. . . . If I were a woman and a shepherd I should not permit myself, for business reasons, to be described as a 'shepherdess.' Market-days would be impossible" (Graves, 116).


Essential Reading for Chapter 1: Writing Women: Problematics of History and Language

Note: This bibliography is divided into three sections: the first gives the critical and historical sources for the case-studies of silencing, while the second provides the basic references for the works of art that are mentioned. The third lists studies of difference in the linguistic terms that mark gender.

I: Historical/ art historical sources and feminist revisions:

  • Anderson, Bonnie S. & Zinsser, Judith P. A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, vol. 1, New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
  • Bell, Susan Groag, and Karen Offen, ed. Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, 1750-1950 , 2 vols. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1983.
  • Biesecker, Barbara. "Coming to Terms with Recent Attempts to Write Women into the History of Rhetoric." Philosophy and Rhetoric 25 (1992): 140-61. Reprinted in Rethinking the History of Rhetoric: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Rhetorical Tradition , ed. Takis Poulakos, 153-72. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993.
  • Broude, Norma and Mary D. Garrard, ed. Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany . New York: Harper Collins, 1982.
  • Broude, Norma and Mary D. Garrard, ed. The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History . New York: Icon Editions, 1992.
  • Caviness, Madeline H. "Anchoress, Abbess and Queen: Donors and Patrons or Intercessors and Matrons?" In The Cultural Patronage of Medieval Women , ed. June Hall McCash, 105-53. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.
  • Cixous, Hèlène, "Castration or Decapitation?" Signs 7/1 (Autumn 1981): 41-53. Originally published in French, 1976.
  • Davis, Natalie Zemon. "Les niveaux de l'intervention." Histoire des femmes en occident , vol. 3, ed. Georges Duby and Michelle Parrot, 179 - 185. Paris: Plon, 1991.
  • Elam, Diane. Feminism and Deconstruction: Ms. en Abyme . London: Routledge, 1994.
  • Gouma-Peterson, Thalia and Patricia Matthews. "The Feminist Critique of Art History." Art Bulletin LXIX (1987): 326-57.
  • Jeffords, Susan. "Tattoos, Scars, Diaries, and Writing Masculinity." In The Vietnam War and American Culture , ed. John Carlos Rowe and Rick Berg. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
  • Landes, Joan B. Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution . Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.
  • Marks, Elaine and Isabelle de Courtivron. "Introduction II: Histories of France and of Feminism in France."In New French Feminisms: An Anthology , ed. Marks and Courtivron, 10-27. New York: Schocken Books, 1981.
  • Miller, Russell E. Light on the Hill: A History of Tufts College 1852-1952 . Boston: Beacon Press, 1966, 63-4, 203, 330.
  • Morrison, Karl. History as a Visual Art in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990, chapter 6: "The Hermeneutic Role of Women: A Silence of Comprehension," 154-95.
  • Moses, Claire Goldberg. French Feminism in the Nineteenth Century . Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984.
  • Newman, Barbara. From Virile Woman to WomanChrist: Studies in Medieval Religion and Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.
  • Nochlin, Linda. "Women, Art, and Power." In Visual Theory: Painting and Interpretation , ed. Norman Bryson, Michael Ann Holly, and Keith Moxey. New York: HarperCollins, c.1991. Originally published,1988.
  • Offen, Karen. "Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach." Signs 14 (1988): 119-57.
  • Offen, Karen. "Feminism and Sexual Difference in Historical Perspective." In Theoretical Perspectives on Sexual Difference , ed. Deborah L. Rhode, 13-20 & 265-66. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.
  • Ong, Walter J. Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness . Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1981.
  • Pollock, Griselda. Vision and Difference: Femininity, feminism and histories of art. London and New York: Routledge, 1988.
  • Scott, Joan W. Gender and the Politics of History . New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.
  • Slatkin, Wendy. Women Artists in History from Antiquity to the Present . 3rd. edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997.
  • Stuard, Susan Mosher. "Fashion's Captives: Medieval Women in French Historiography." In Women in Medieval History & Historiography , ed. Susan Mosher Stuard, 59-80. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.
  • White, Haydon. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation . Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1987.

II: The works of art discussed:

  • Anon. "Recent Benefactors of Tufts: Mary A. Richardson." The Tufts College Graduate 8 no. 1 (April, 1910): 29-30.
  • Anon. "Mary A. Richardson." The Universalist Leader 13 no. 11 (March 12, 1910): 337.
  • Anon. "White, Emily H." In Who was Who in American Art . . . Biographies of American Artists Active from 1898-1947 , ed. Peter Hastings Falk, 674. Madison , CT: Sound View Press, 1985.
  • Caviness, Madeline H. "Saint-Yved of Braine: The Primary Sources for dating the Gothic Church." Speculum 59 (1984): 524-58.
  • Caviness, Madeline H. The Sumptuous Arts at the Royal Abbeys in Reims and Braine: Ornatus elegantia et varietate stupendae . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
  • Douët-d'Arcq, Louis. Collection de Sceaux (Ministèere de l"Etat, Archives de l'Empire. Inventaires et Documents , 3 vols. Paris: H. Plon, 1863-67.
  • King, Tomas H. and George J. Hill. Monographie de lAbbaye royale de Saint-Ives à Braine en Soissonais . Études pratiques tirées de l'architecture du moyen-âge en Europe. Bruges, London, Paris: Thomas H. King, 1857.
  • Prache, Anne. "Saint-Yved de Braine." Congrès Archéologique de France: Aisne Méridionale , vol. I. Paris: Société Archéologique de France, 1994, 105-18.
  • Prioux, Stanislas. Histoire de Braine et de ses environs . Paris: Dumoulin, 1846.
  • Prioux, Stanislas. Monographie de l'ancienne abbaye royale de Saint-Yved de Braine, avec la description des tombes royales et seigneuriales renfermées dans cette église . Paris: Librairie archéologique de Victor Didron & Librairie d'Archecture de Caudrilier, 1859.
  • Teusche, Andrea. Das Prämonstratenserkloster Sankt-Yved in Braine als Grablege der Grafen von Dreux. Bamberg: Lehrstuhl I für Kunstgeschichte und Aufbaustudium Denkmalpflege an der Otto-Friedrich-Universität, 1990.

III: Studies of the intersection of language and gender:

  • Baron, Dennis. Grammar and Gender . New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.
  • Cameron, Deborah, ed. The Feminist Critique of Language . London: Routledge, 1990, esp. the pieces reprinted in Part Two: "'Naming' and Representation," pp. 99-196.
  • Cameron, Deborah. "Gender, Language, and Discourse: A Review Essay." Signs 23 (1998): 945-73.
  • Eakins, Barbara W. and R. Gene Eakins, ed. Sex Difference in Human Communication . Boston: Houghton Mifflin, c. 1978; "When words speak louder than people: The language of gender," 111-46.
  • Frank, Francine Harriet Wattman and Frank Anshen. Language and the Sexes. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983.
  • Frank, Francine Harriet Wattman and Paula A. Treichler, with contributions by H. Lee Gershuny, Sally McConnell-Ginet and Susan J. Wolfe. Language, Gender, and Professional Writing: Theoretical Approaches and Guidelines for Nonsexist Usage . New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1989.
  • Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. "Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality." New Literary History 16 (1985): 515-43. Reprinted in The Feminist Reader: Essays in Gender and the Politics of Literary Criticism , ed. Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore, 81-99, 225-29. New York: Blackwell, 1989.
  • Graves, Robert. "A Journal of Curiosities." In But It Still Goes On , ed. Jonathan Cape, 115-18. London & Toronto: 1931.
  • Henley, Nancy M. Body Politics: Power, Sex, and Nonverbal Communication (with drawings by Deirdre Patrick). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1977. Esp. ch. 5: "Tinkling Symbols: Language," 67-81.
  • Lakoff, Robin. Language and Woman's Place . San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1975.
  • Maggio, Rosalie. The Nonsexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage . Phoenix: Oryx, 1987.
  • Moi, Toril. Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory . London: Methuen, 1985, 151-63. Critique of "Anglo-American feminist linguistics."
  • Papin, Liliane. "This is not a Universe: Metaphor, Language, and Representation." Proceedings of the Modern Language Association 107 (1992): 1253-65.
  • Parker, Rozsika, and Griselda Pollock. Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology . London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981.
  • Sellers, Susan. "Women and language," "A woman's language?" and "Towards an écriture féminine." In Language and Sexual Difference: Feminist Writing in France . New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991, chs. 1, 4, 5, pp. 19-38, 95-161.
  • Smith, Phillip. Languages, The Sexes and Society . Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984, esp. ch. 3.
  • Spender, Dale. Man-Made Language . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.
  • Stanley, Julia P. "Paradigmatic Woman: The Prostitute." In Papers in Language Variation , ed. David L. Shores, 303-21. Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1977.
  • Steinem, Gloria. "Womb Envy, Testyria, and Breast Castration Anxiety: What if Freud were female?" Ms. IV no. 5 (March/April 1994): 48-56.
  • Steinem, Gloria, "What if Freud were Phyllis?" Part I of Moving Beyond Words . New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994, 19-90.
  • Wilden, Anthony. Man and Woman, War and Peace: The Strategist's Companion . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987.

 1 Cf. the version in Genesis chapter 1, which implies the creation of male and female people at the same time: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over ... all the earth ...' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it;' " "et [Deus] ait: Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram; et praesit ... Et creavit Deus hominem ad imaginem suam; ad imaginem Dei creavit illum: masculum et feminam creavit eos ... Genesis 1:26-28.

2 Jacques Lacan, Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis , trans. Anthony Wilden (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1968), 39; the original is cited in n. 91: 'par ce qui ne prend corps que d'être la trace d'un néant et dont le support dès lors ne peut s'altérer, le concept, sauvant la durée de ce qui passe, engendre la chose. ... C'est le monde des mots qui crée le monde des choses ...

3  Julia Kristeva, About Chinese Women, trans. Anita Barrows (New York: Urizen Books, 1977), 15. Originally published in Paris in 1974. She contrasts this image with Chinese women, "these girls who brandish pistols and paintbrushes, who liberate themselves from their husbands and fathers under the portrait of Mao, and leave their children, their calligraphy, their exploits in the field of production, science, or the current ideological campaign, as the sole evidence of their jouissance." (p. 16); they "show that woman as such does not exist."

4  Norman Bryson, "Semiology and Visual Interpretation," in Visual Theory: Painting and Interpretation , ed. Norman Bryson, Michael Ann Holly, Keith Moxey (Cambridge: Pility Press, 1991), 61-73. For a more detailed argument against the traditional view of semiotics, see Norman Bryson, Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze , ch. 6: "Image, Discourse, Power," 133-62.

5  New work is showing how even the outstanding women's voices of the eleventh and twelfth centuries had been silenced in modern academic discourse: Newman, chapter 2, "Authority, Authenticity, and the Repression of Heloise;" Charles G. Nelson, "Hrotsvit von Gandersheim: Madwoman in the Abbey," in Women as Protagonists and Poets in the German Middle Ages, ed. Albrecht Classen (Göppingen: Kümmerle, 1991), 43-55; Andrea Nye, Words of Power: A Feminist Reading of the History of Logic , part 2 (New York: Routledge, 1990), 85-123; Barbara Newman, "'Sibyl of the Rhine:' Hildegard's Life and Times," in Voice of the Living Light , ed. Barbara Newman (Berkeley: Uuniversity of California Press, 1998), 1, 29.

6  As a potential gift, the portrait was exhibited in the Tisch Gallery on the Tufts Universiy campus in the fall of 1997, among other works by women artists owned by the University: "The Dainty Hand" was conceived and planned by Joanna Soltan, with whom I had the pleasure of working on some aspects of the show. Part of this section was given as a gallery lecture, "The Well Hung Campus, Or, What's Wrong with Mary?" The Gallery provided the photograph for fig. 3 free of charge. The portrait is now hung in the foyer of the main administration building, Ballou Hall: Brooke Sikora, "A Portrait Restored," Tuftonia, 7 no. 11 (Winter 2000): 56.

7  Sally Thompson, "Why English Nunneries Had No History: A Study of the Problems of the English Nunneries Founded after the Conquest," in Medieval Religious Women, 1: Distant Echoes , ed. John A. Nichols and Lillian Thomas Shank (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1984), 131-49.

8  There is also a new Dictionary of Women Artists , ed. Delia Gaze, 2 vols. (London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997).

9  As Andy Lewis has noted, their charters for this and other purposes also title Agnes's husband variously, as "Robertus Comes frater Regis Francie et dominus Brane" and "Robertus Comes drocarum et dominus brane frater regis" and "Robertus Comes Drocarum et Brane;" in several instances they are "Robertus, frater regis Francie, comes drocarum, et Agnes Brane comitissa, uxor mea:" Andrew W. Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France: Studies on Familial Order and the State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981), 202-7.

10  Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, "Medieval Women in French Sigillographic Sources," in Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History , ed. Joel T. Rosenthal (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990), 3. Agnes's standing figure is quite like that of Louis VII's second queen, Constance of Castille, ca.1154 (her fig. 10).

11  Bruno Klein made the same argument from the fabric as well: Saint-Yved in Braine und die Anfänge der hochgotischen Architektur in Frankreich (Cologne: Kunsthistorisches Institüt, 1984).

12  The beginning of the new construction, which I originally hypothesized might be as early as 1175/80 because of a cluster of gifts and the foundation of a mass, is more likely ca. 1185-90 as argued by Prache, 107-114 on the basis of comparative material, and by Teusche, 35-44, who however only discusses documents.

13  David Hurlihy, "Land, Family and Women in Continental Europe, 701-1200," Traditio 18 (1962): 87-120. François-L. Ganshof, "Le Statut de la femme dans la monarchie franque," Recueils de la Société Jean Bodin 12 (1962): 5-113, did similar pioneering work on the legal status of women in the same period.

14  Nicolas Huyghebaert, "Les Femmes laïques dans la vie religieuse des XIe et XIIe siècles dans la province ecclésiastique de Reims," in I Laici nelle "Societas Christiana" dei secoli XI e XII (Atti della terza Settimana internazionale di Studio Mendola, 1965) (Milan: Università cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 1968), 379-86.

15  Georges Duby, "Women and Power," in Cultures of Power: Lordship, Status, and Process in Twelfth-Century Europe , ed. Thomas N. Bisson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995), 70-76. His earlier book, Le Chevalier, la femme, et le prêtre: Le Mariage dans la France féodale (Paris: Hachette litterature générale, c.1981), is a basic resource.

16  Jo Ann McNamara and Suzanne Wemple, "The Power of Women through the Family in Medieval Europe: 500-1100," in Clio's Consciousness Raised: New Perspectives on the History of Women , ed. Mary S. Hartman and Lois Banner (New York: Octagon Books, 1976), 107, note that Eleanor acted in accordance with earlier practices, but they cite other examples from the twelfth century. For detailed studies of the period before 1100 see: Michel Parisse, ed., Veuves et Veuvages dans le Haut Moyen Age (Paris: Picard, 1993).

17  Louise Mirrer, ed., Upon My Husband's Death: Widows in the Literature and Histories of Medieval Europe (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1992), esp. 9, 155, 171, 179-82.

18  Michael Altschul, A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217-1314 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1965), 33-37.

19  Catherine King, "Medieval and Renaissance Matrons, Italian-style," Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 3 (1992): 372-91.

20  Matthew Herbelin, "Les généalogies . . . de tous les siers contes et contesses de Dreux et de Braine," Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, MS 855; Prioux, 1859, 2-15, quotes from a recension belonging to M. Petit de Champlain in Braine. I controlled his transcription by examination of the manuscripts in the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, and in the Mairie of Braine.

21  The second quotation, not included by Prioux, is: "puissant seigneur Robert conte dudit Dreux fondateur de Labbaye de Sainct Yved de Braine . . ."

22  Prioux, 1859, 14: "et [elle] fist appeller Monsieur Robert, son fils aysne, qui debvoit regner apres icelle et qui regnoit en effet depuis la mort de son père." The addition is not in any of the recensions of Herbelin I examined.

23  The decline in heiresses' control of their property had already begun by the early thirteenth century: Women's "rights" in the 11th-12th centuries are separately treated from the period 1250-1500 in Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, ed., Le moyen âge . Histoire des femmes en occident, vol 2., ed. Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot, vol. 2 (Paris: Plon, 1990), 141-43, 247-51, 323-28; ecclesiastical control of marriages was already undermining women's autonomy, as some inheritance contests around 1200 clearly indicate.

24  Andrew W. Lewis, Royal Succession in Capetian France: Studies on fFamilial Order and the State (Cambridge, Eng: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 153-154, cites proclamations and decisions of 1317 and 1322.

25  Merry E. Wiesner, "Women's Defense of Their Public Role," in Women in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Literary and Hitorical Perspectives (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1986), 4-6.

26  The king called for an election in 1788, reviving the custom of proxies that had been codified by Phillip le Bel in 1302, but the small gain for women did not long outlast the Revolution (Landes, 232, n. 9).

27  For brevity, I leave aside the publication of a cleric that praised Braine as a royal pantheon on the eve of the coronation of Charles IX: Beaucamp (curé de Braisne), Mémoire sur l'église royale de Saint-Ived de Braisne (Soissons: D. Barbier, 1825).

28  He was inclined to give Agnes much more credit for "charitable works" including church building in his earlier account than he was in 1859 (Prioux 1846, 110-119); perhaps he had been criticized for the earlier eulogy.

29  "Des inductions et des vraiesemblances qui atteignent presque une certitude absolue nous autorisent à la fixer en 1180."

30  As argued by Meredith P. Lillich, "The Consecration of 1254: Heraldry & History in the Windows of Le Mans Cathedral," Traditio 38 (1982), 349.

31  François Petit, La Spititualité des Prémontrés (Paris: J. Vrin, 1947), 47.

32  Caroline W. Bynum, "Women Mystics and Eucharistic Devotion in the Thirteenth Century," Women's Studies 11 (1984): 179-214.

33  As a result of my insistence on these controlling factors, one reader for the press characterized my tone as "acerbic and negative throughout."

34  Adrienne Rich, "Privilege, Power, and Tokenism," Ms (September 1979): 43, quoted by Biesecker, p. 154. See also: Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence (New York: Norton, 1979), 82-83.

35  Another such case was reported in a letter by Gene H. Bell-Villada to The New York Review of Books 38/15 (September 26, 1991): 75, concerning Dinesh D'Souza's account of Rigoberta Menchú in his Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (New York, Free Press, c. 1991): "For some reason her name is omitted from D'Souza's index." Similarly, Judith's name is not in the index of The Cambridge History of the Bible , 2: The West from the Fathers to the Reformation , ed. G. W. H. Lampe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), though wo vernacular versions of her story are described, 426.

36  William Chester Jordan, The French Monarchy and the Jews (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 36-37. He also suppresses the name of Robert of Dreux, referring to him as "the old count, Louis VII's brother," making quite a riddle of the whole affair. He is careful to explain that the "countess dowager" was exercising authority ca. 1190 only because her son was absent on crusade.

37  Race may enter into such labels, as when the critic Charles Griswold eferred to Mia Lee, the artist who designed the Vietnam Memorial for Washigton, as "a woman of oriental extraction" (cited by Susan Jeffords, The Remasculinization of America: Gender and the Vietnam War (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989), 81. Vets who were angered by her low-key design called her a "geek" at the inauguration.

38  Francine Harriet Wattman Frank and Paula A. Treichler, Language, Gender, and Professional Writing: Theoretical Approaches and Guidelines for Nonsexist Usage (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1989), 262.

39  A deeper consideration of the sexual politics of campus architecture is the case study of Duke University by Annabel Wharton, "Gender, Architecture, and Institutional Self-Preservation: The Case of Duke University, " South Atlantic Quarterly 90 (1991), 175-217.

40  Meanwhile a controversial but extremely influential ideas of a biologist from Johns Hopkins University were being published; he posited that the ovum dictated the conservative, passive nature of women, whereas men, like their sperm, were aggressive agents of change: W. K. Brooks, The Law of Heredity: A Study of the Cause of Variation, and the Origin of Living Organisms (Baltimore: John Murphy, 1883). A useful synopsis is given by Toril Moi, What is a Woman? And Other Essays (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 15-17.

41  The standard authority for the changes in British law is Ronald Harry Graveson and F. R. Crane, ed., A Century of Family Law: 1857-1957 (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1957); the historical narrative is embedded in a remarkable reactionary text by C. A. Morrison, who does more than justice to the resistance encountered by changes that went some way to giving married women the status of "spinsters," pp. 88-96, 116-125. The backlash included the complaint that"marriage in England was suddenly abolished" in 1891 because "the husband's right to lock up his wife was finally extinguished", 116!

42  A History of Women in the West, ed. Geneviève Fraisse and Michelle Perrot, vol. 4 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 85.

43  Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and its People , vol. II (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1919), 889. The Rev. Ada C. Bowles returned to Worcester to give a lecture on "Woman as Inventor," in which "woman's place in the world was given a splendid presentation:" The Message. Worcester, Mass. II no 10 (March 8, 1902): 5.

44  E. R. Hanson, Our Women Workers: Biographical Sketches of Women Eminent in the Universalist Church for Literary, Philanthropic and Christian Work (Chicago: The Star and Covenant Office, 1882), vii, 384-85.

45  Information about William Richardson is based on his obituary and other news clippings preserved in the Worcester Historical Museum, and on other works cited in the notes that follow.

46  Other sources indicate that Harrington's son, Edwin C. Harrington, became president in 1897, and he shared his half of the business with his brother: Charles F. Washburn, Industrial Worcester (Worcester, MA: The Davis Press, 1917), 210; Franklin P. Rice, ed., The Worcester of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Eight: Fifty Years a City (Worcester, MA: F. S. Blanchard & Co., 1899), 512. Mary Richardson must have controlled the other half. In 1888 the capital had been $75,000: Charles Nutt, History of Worcester and its People, vol. III (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co, 1919), 105.

47  Anon., "Worcester Industries IX: The Making of Revolvers," The Worcester Magazine devoted to Good Citizenship and Municipal Development V (Jan-June 1903): 12.

48  News clipping "Benefactoress of Franklin Sq. House," dated January 31 1905 and the only item filed under Mary Richardson's name in the Worcester Historical Museum. George L. Perin is the president's full name. The article begins by quoting Richardson: "Make it as brief as possible if you say anything about me," a sentiment that could have been spoken by Hrotsvit of Gandersheim or any other significant women between the eleventh and the twentieth century; it also reports a $5000 gift the previous year to pay off the debt of the First Universalist Church, and notes Richardson's interest in St. Lawrence University, Canton, because her former pastor, Almon Gunnison, had become its president.

49  She joined her pastor, Almon F. Gunnison (a graduate of Tufts College), on his trip to Europe to see the art on which he had been lecturing in the parish: See the brochure Vacation Rambles Across the Sea: A Course of Illustrated Lectures at the First Universalist Church (1894), in which he used new lantern slides purchased in England.

50  This is echoed in a tribute paid to her for her many gifts to the First Universalist Church in Worcester; only when she was absent in Europe did they make this known in the parish, and publish her photograph on the cover of the parish magazine: The Message. Worcester, Mass. V no. 11 (July, 1905), cover and 3. The photograph is of a slightly heavier, younger woman than the one in the painted portrait, and in the photograph that illustrated the Tufts Graduate obituary.

51  Formerly University Art Collections, Card catalogue 1-1984-V:19, item AI 55500, with photo. attached.

52  National Gallery, London: Max J. Friedländer, Quentin Massys (Early Netherlandish Painting VII), trans. Heinz Norden (New York: Praeger, 1971), 65, Pl. 52; said to be after a Leonardo de Vinci drawing. See also the print by Jeremias Falck, after Johann Liss, after Bernardo Strozzi, An Old Woman at the Toilet Table , in Diane H. Russell, Eva /Ave: Women n Renaissance and Baroque Prints (exhibition catalogue), Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1990, 197, no. 128.

53 Pierce Butler, Women in Rennaisance, Encyclopedia of World Women V, ed. S. S. Shashi (Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan, 1989), 128-281. It is remarkable that the author draws all of this, on his own admission, from a miniature seventeenth-century copy of a lost statue!

54  Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye (New York: Bantam Books, 1989), 20 (quoted by permission of the author).

55  The notion of behaving like men has been problematized by Deborah L. Rhode, "Definitions of Difference," Theoretical Perspectives on Sexual Difference , ed. Deborah L. Rhode (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), 212, 294-98.

56  In addition: Sallie McFague, Metaphorical Theology: Models of God in Religious Language (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, c. 1992). For defense lawyers' imposition of terms on rape victims in order to implicate them in desire, see: Gregory M. Matoesian, Reproducing Rape: Domination through Talk in the Courtroom (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993).

57  In their chapter on "The Invisible Woman," for instance Schmidt and Schmidt critique a passage on the women's liberation movement from a popular text book of American history that (also) introduces Lucretia Mott as "a sprightly Quakeress:" Dolores Barracano Schmidt and Earl Robert Schmidt, in Liberating Women's History , ed. Berenice A. Carroll (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1976), 44-49.

58  Susan Harding, "Women and Words in a Spanish Village," in Toward an Anthropology of Women , ed. Rayna R. Reiter (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975), 284; her study concerns both aspects.

59  As also noticed by Gillian R. Overing, "On Reading Eve: Genesis B and the Readers' Desire," in Speaking Two Languages: Traditional Disciplines and Contemporary Theory in Medieval Studies, ed. Allen J. Frantzen (Albany: SUNY Press, 1991), 36.

60  Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Commentary , rev. ed. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1972), 70 notes a distinction between the use of ãdãm for "man" (sic) in Genesis 1 and 2, and as a name in the genealogy of Genesis 5. I owe this reference, and a very useful discussion of the aspects of gender in the creation to the Rev. Barbara Edgar.

61  Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973), 8, 167.

62  Bruce Beasley, The Creation (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1994), 4-6; note especially the verse: "He wanted everything / common, reduced, so we could / exchange it, as though it were breath, / as though I still lay / deep in the bone and muscle of his side." I am indebted to Richard Emerson for this poem.

63  For feminist readings of other Old Testament sagas, see the essays in Anti-Covenant: Counter-Reading Women's Lives in the Hebrew Bible , ed. Mieke Bal (Sheffield: Almond Press, 1989).

64  Maggio's Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage was followed five years later by one that can help prevent habitual prejudice: Rosalie Maggio, The Bias-Free Word Finder: A Dictionary of Nondiscriminatory Language (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992).

65  Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1994), 56.

66  A letter from seventeen members of Harvard's Department of Linguistics asserting that "For people and pronouns in English the masculine is the unmarked and hence is used as a neutral or unspecified term ... there is really no need for anxiety or pronoun-envy," published in The Harvard Crimson (Nov. 16, 1971), is quoted by Alette Olin Hill, Mother Tongue, Father Time: A Decade of Linguistic Revolt (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1986), 50.

67  Ann Bodine, "Androcentrism in prescriptive grammar: singular 8216;they216;they', sex-indefinite 8216;he216;he', and 8216;he or she216;he or she'," reprinted in Cameron, 1990, 166-86 (originally published in 1975).

68  Baron traces the long history of "artificial epicene pronouns:" They were coined by male linguistics on the grounds of logic for more than two hundred years before women urged their use on ethical grounds.

69  The nature of that connection, however, might be debated, as in the review of Spender's book by Maria Black and Rosalind Coward that appeared in Screen Education 39 (1981), reprinted in Cameron, 1990, 111-33.

70  Robin Tolmach Lakoff, "Women's Language," Language and Style 10 (1977); reprint 1978, 222-47; Cheris Kramarae, Women and Men Speaking: Frameworks for Analysis (Rowley: Newbury, 1981); see also: Mary Jacobus, "The Question of Language: Men of Maxims and the Mill on the Floss ," in Writing and Sexual Difference , ed. Elizabeth Abel (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982), 37-52; McConnell-Ginet, "Difference and Language: A Linguist's Perspective," and other essays in Part III of The Future of Difference , ed. Hester Eisenstein and Alice Jardine (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1980), 157-66; Elaine Showalter, "Women's Writing and Women's Language," in The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature, and Theory , ed. Elaine Showalter (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), 252-59. Smith also has extensive material on "Feminine and Masculine Speech," 58ff.

71  Lakoff, "Women's Language," 235, 245-46 nn. 8, 11, 12.

72  For some comparisons between English and German, and insights into the masculinist tyranny of German: Luise F. Pusch, Das Deutsche als Männersprache: Aufsätze und Glossen zur feministischen Linguistik (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1984), esp. 46-68.

73  Very occasionally an English word discloses less than Latin: Amicus/amica cf friend. Yet this example leads to pointed combinations, such as boyfriend, girlfriend, which are sexualized.

74  Barbara Newman, Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard's Theology of the Feminine (Berkeley: University of California, 1987), xix, 57. Frank and Treichler tracked this issue in a scholarly discussion of Milton's Paradise Lost , noting the scholar's tendency to become enmeshed in the author's worldview, 234- 36.

75  This was not overlooked, however, by Alan of Lille in the twelfth-century, who was concened that gender instability in people might create "a whole new grammatical dimension" by using the neuter form of Latin to refer to the third sex; hermaphroditus and androgynous remained masculine words. See: Cary J. Nederman and Jacqui True, "The Third Sex: The Idea of the Hermaphrodite in Twelfth-Century Europe," Journal of the History of Sexuality 6 (1996), 508-509.

76  Peter L. Allen, "The Ambiguity of Silence: Gender, Writing, and Le Roman de Silence ," in Sign, Sentence, Discourse: Language in Medieval Thought and Literature , ed. Julian N. Wasserman and Lois Roney (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1989), 98-112.

77  Richard Morris, ed., The Story of Genesis and Exodus, an Early English Song , 2nd rev. ed. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1873), 1, ll, 13-18. I am grateful to John Fyler for checking my translation of this passage.

78  Michael Richter, "A Socio-Linguistic Approach to the Latin Middle Ages," in his Studies in Medieval Language and Culture (Blackrock: Four Courts Press, 1995), 11-20.

79  Saussure also distinguished langue from parole, but not in gendered terms.

80  There has been a heated debate between the UN and UNESCO on this issue, according to Stephen A. Wurm, former President of the Comité International pour la Philosophie et les Sciences Humaines.

81  Overing, "On Reading Eve," 35-36.

82  Charles G. Nelson, "Hrotsvit von Gandersheim: Madwoman in the Abbey," in Women as Protagonists and Poets in the German Middle Ages: An Anthology of Feminist Approaches to the Study of Middle High German Literature (Göppinger Arbeiten zur Germanistik 528), ed. Albrecht Classen (Salzburg: Kümmerle, 1991), 43-55 (or specific pages), has examined Hrotsvit's self-abrogation as a topos. Ann Clark Bartlett, "Miraculous Literacy and Textual Community in Hildegard of Bingen's 'Scivias'," Mystics Quarterly 18 (1992): 43-55, gives a useful summary of interpretations of Hildegard's claim to "illiteracy," and lists some similar cases in n. 3.

83  Hence the title The New Philology for a special issue of the journal of the Medieval Academy of America, edited by Stephen G. Nichols, dedicated to the relevance of philology to modern and postmodern textual criticism: Speculum 65 no. 1 (January 1990).

84  As concluded by Baron, 186, in response to an article by Stefan Kanfer in Time magazine parodying "sispeak" with terms like shedonism and msanthropic. So also Jost Nolte, "Haie, fresst Männer!" Die Zeit 38 (12 Sept. 1991): 103, mocked the new inclusions in Webster's Dictionary, retreating into scientific philology in defense of "history" ("his" is only in the ear), and wondering why American feminists don't do anything about man-eating sharks. The clipping was given to me by the male president of the Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art immediately after I delivered my first feminist paper to an international audience in Japan.

85  Seneca, Troades, ll. 1151-52, had already described the courageous death of Polyxena in terms of virgo and virago. Cited by Nicole Loraux, Tragic Ways of Killing A Woman (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 59. The association of these terms with vir was taken up by Jerome in his Commentarius in Epistolam ad Ephesios III.5 ( Patrologia Latina 26, col. 567a); this and other texts are introduced by Newman, pp. 4, 26, 31, 81-82, and by Joan M. Ferrante, To the Glory of Her Sex: Women's Roles in the Composition of Medieval Texts (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997), 14-15. Isidore of Seville, however, separated mulier (woman) and femina (female) from vir, vis, and virtus: Alcuin Blamires, ed., Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992), 43, quoting a passage from his Etymologies . And in modern usage virago has been debased as a term of insult to women, connoting a sex-hungry hag or prostitute (Stanley, 304, Maggio, 149).

86  Cf. Tertullian, who reminded all women that they are "the devil's gateway," and the contrasting Gnostic view of Eve as an allegory of the soul, quoted by Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988), 63-67; For the extensive literature on Eve as temptress and even as devil, see: Jonathan Beck, "Genesis, Sexual Antagonism, and the Defective Couple of the Twelfth-Century Jeu d'Adam ," Representations 29 (1990): 128 and nn. 13-15.

87  Recent papers emphasize the valuation of mothering in the middle ages: John Carmi Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler, ed., Medieval Mothering (The New Middle Ages 3) (New York, Garland, 1996), especially those by Pamela Sheingorn, "The Maternal Behavior of God: Divine Father as Fantasy Husband," 77-99, and Rosemary Drage Hale, "Joseph as Mother: Adaptation and Appropriation in the Construction of Male Virtue," 101-116.

88  Caroline Walker Bynum, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982).

89  I do not agree, though, that much can be learned about spontaneous usage by "controlled experiments;" cf. Linda Bebout, "Asymmetries in Male-Female Word Pairs," American Speech 59 (1984): 13-30, who tested pairs such as lady/gentleman.

90  Henrich Wölfflin, Principles of Art History, the Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art , trans. M. D. Hottinger (New York: Dover, 1964). Originally published in German in 1915 as Grundbegriffe der Kunstgeschichte ; five pairs of terms (closed and open, clear and unclear, multiplicity and unity, plane and recession, linear and painterly) are used to distinguish Classicizing and Baroque styles in the visual arts. Baroque at the time was a pejorative, but by the 1960's both it and its precursor, Mannerism, were accorded equal status with the previously elevated "High" Renaissance or "Classic" moment in sixteenth-century art.

91  A. Gabhart and E. Broun, Walters Art Gallery Bulletin 24 1972, are acknowledged to have been first to draw attention to the problem (Parker & Pollock, 6).

92  "Pejorated" has been used for this process by Muriel Schulz, "The semantic derogation of women," in Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley, ed., Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance (Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1975 ), 64-75 (reprinted in Cameron, 1990, 134-47). She posits that all words associated with women are more or less pejorated.

93  Quoted by Brian Pronger, "Gay Jocks: A Phenomenology of Gay Men in Athletics," in Rethinking Masculinity: Philosophical Explorations in Light of Feminism , ed. Larry May and Robert A. Strikwerda (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1992), 43-44.

94  Pinker, Language Instinct , 209-13.

95  For a study of the significance of cockfighting to one group of men : Clifford Geertz, "Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight," Daedalus: Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 101/1 (Winter, 1972): 1, 37. Cited by Ong, 1981, 46-47.

96  Despite there being more terms for men, Stanley reported that among those for women 220 connoted sexual promiscuity, cf. only 20 for men (Stanley, 310; the list for women is on 316-18).

97  Another list of --man terms associated with professions, and nonsexist alternatives, is given by H. Lee Gershunny in Frank and Treichler, 101.

98  Smith, 41, notes that the Miss/Mrs. distinction has been used to distinguish unmarried from married women only since the early nineteenth century; before then they were used for children/adult females.

99  On the Lacanian phallus: Marcia Ian, Remembering the Phallic Mother: Psychoanalysis, Modernism, and the Fetish (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), 92.