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

Reader Comments:

Pamela Sheingorn: "A thoroughly postmodern and thoroughly feminist medieval art history, Caviness's book is stunning in its originality. She succeeds in sometimes juxtaposing, sometimes interweaving three discourses: traditional art history with its focus on the object; historical context (though I would problematize that word) to embed the object in its socio-cultural milieu; and what she calls a theoretical frame . . . to provide genuinely new readings of objects in their contexts. This is an estremely ambitious and largely successful effort to rewrite the history of medieval art, yet Caviness does do by showing, in postmodern fashion, that there is no such thing as THE history of art. Each of her case studies could stand alone, or as Caviness suggests, they could be read in any sequence, yet their cumulative effect is to provide an alternative narrative of medieval art history because it is read through the lens of gender. Art history, and especially medieval art history, has lagged behind the other disciplines in its use of contemporary theory; Caviness's book virtually repositions the field. It comes at a time when many medieval art historians seem more open to theoretical approaches, yet hesitant as to where to begin -- this book will be their model. Other medievalists will read it eagerly, both because Caviness is well-known both as a first-rate scholar and as a provocative revisionist and because they are well aware that the field had been waiting for this kind of rewriting. Though she is tough-minded, Caviness is far from doctrinaire. She works by a kind of associational thinking that is both stimulating and challenging. The connections she sees are dazzling, genuinely striking in their originality. Caviness has accomplished the enormous task of rethinking a field."

Barbara Abou-el-Haj: "This manuscript, which is imbued with [Caviness's] humor, irony and satire, is an experiment based on a number of important atticles to which she has added new material and new chapters. The author has taken key categories of feminist theory and applied them reciprocally to medieval and modern or postmodern imagery usually, but not always, accompanied by critical assessments. I have no doubt that when it is published, this book will attract a broad audience of scholars from a range of disciplines engaged in feminist debate, research, and historiography, who are already familiar with the author's publications and lectures in this area of research. I was especially struck by the sets of quotes that effectively introduce the issues for each chapter."

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