Material girls: Middle English secular female scribes and their cultural agents is a project aimed at investigating the social context of gender in medieval literary production. In recent years medieval scholars have acknowledged the importance of manuscript study for understanding medieval literature and the culture from which literature was produced; however, our knowledge of medieval book production is undermined by persistent questions surroundi

MaterialGirlsIMG1
Cambridge, Bodleian Library, Ashmole 39, lower board
Lydgate, “Life of our Lady”: Highlighted areas show signatures of Anne Bourchier and Envoy to “Beware of Doubleness”

ng medieval book culture, scribal practice, scribal identity, and secular women’s involvement in each.
Recent project activity:

  • 2016: Olsen, Kenna L. “Through the maze via the margins: establishing the evidence for manuscript networks in the age of Chaucer.” New Chaucer Society. London. July 2016.
  • 2016: Olsen, Kenna L. “Galvanizing gendered spaces: blurring the borders between readers, writers, and copyists in Middle English manuscript texts.” Canadian Society of Medievalists. Calgary, AB. July 2016.
  • Fall 2014: English 4410-001 -Select Topics in Medieval Literature, 650-1500: Material girls by their own hands: virgins, wives, and widows of Middle English literary culture.
  • 2014: Olsen, Kenna L. “Material Girls: Middle English female scribes and their cultural agents.” Fourth International MARGOT Conference: Women and Community in the Ancien Régime: Traditional and New Media. Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY. June 2014.
  • 2013: Howatt, Kayla. “Lydgate’s Ladies: Establishing the Evidence for Middle English Women’s Participation in Middle English Literature Culture.” 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. May 2013.
  • 2013: Howatt, Kayla. “Participation of Secular Women in Middle English Literary Culture.” BA Honours Thesis. Mount Royal University, 2013. Supervisor, Dr. Kenna L. Olsen.

  • 2013: Olsen, Kenna L. “Editing the Middle Ages: medieval manuscripts, hypertexts, academe, and beyond.” FORUM Postgraduate Conference. ReVision: Editing Across Disciplines. Plenary Workshop. University of Edinburgh, UK. July 2013.
  • 2013: Olsen, Kenna L. “Witnessing Women: Liberating Female Names from Margins to Networks of Textual Culture.” Early Book Society. University of St. Andrews, UK. July 2013.
  • 2013: Olsen, Kenna L. “‘it shall be an occasion of gladness,’ yet ‘have pity upon me’; documenting women’s experiences of pleasure and pain via female participation in Middle English material culture.” International Medieval Congress. University of Leeds, UK. July 2013.
  • 2012: Triebwasser, Holly. “Women of Words: Female Involvement in the Middle English Letter Writing Genre.” BA Honours Thesis. Mount Royal University, 2012. Supervisor, Dr. Kenna L. Olsen.
  • 2011: Olsen, Kenna L. “Autographs in the Margins: Secular Women’s Credentials as Agents of Culture.” Canadian Society of Medievalists. Fredericton, NB. May 2011.
  • 2011: Olsen, Kenna L. “Material Witnesses, Cultural Agents, Secular Scribes: Identifying Middle English Women’s Literary Participations.” Medieval And Renaissance Cultural Studies Group. University of Calgary, Calgary AB. April 2011.
  • 2010: Olsen, Kenna L. “The queynte pen (is) witness: Middle English Female Scribes.” Old World Speaker Series. Mount Royal University, Calgary AB. November 2010.
  • 2010: Olsen, Kenna L. “Material Girls?: Middle English Female Scribes and their Secular Groupies.” New Chaucer Society. Università per Stranieri di Siena. Siena, Italy. July 2010.
  • 2010: Olsen, Kenna L. “Towards the Identification of Women Scribes of Middle English Literature.” Canadian Society of Medievalists. Carleton University, Ottawa ON. June 2009.

Please visit the project’s website for more information: medievalmaterialgirls.ca