GENDERED SPEECH IN OLD ENGLISH FEMALE SAINTS' LIVES: A LINGUISTIC EXAMINATION
In medieval English literature, this acute male perspective often lead to a lack of females being represented in the writings. Yet, there is one place where females are consistently represented in writing: female saints' lives. Additionally, the female saints' lives offered stories of women acting on equal footing with men, sometimes even surpassing them in power. These religious pieces, then, are extremely interesting to investigate in terms of language use. In my research, I seek to discover if the powerful nature of these religious women represented in their represented speech? How does the female saint's speech compare to the men's speech in the literature? Is there a consistent representation of female saint's speech represented throughout these different pieces of literature, and what does that say about how women might have actually spoken? And, finally, how could the fact that these religious pieces were written by educated religious males affect the conclusions that are drawn from this research? I answered these questions by examining a collection of saints' lives written by Ælfric of Eynsham, an anonymous author, and Cynewulf. For this study, I chose three texts that represent each of these authors. The first was Ælfric's "Life of Saint Cecilia," the second was Cynewulf's "Juliana," and finally, "Life of Saint Euphrosyne" which was written by an anonymous author but is included in Ælfric's Lives of Saints. These texts provided a sound basis for investigation into how religious women's speech was represented.
Parker, Alexa, "GENDERED SPEECH IN OLD ENGLISH FEMALE SAINTS' LIVES: A LINGUISTIC EXAMINATION" (2019). University Research Symposium. 286.