First published in 1996, this study offers a broad range of approaches to medieval society's undertanding of mothering and the uses to which the practice and imagery of mothering could be assumed by females and males alike. In 19 original theoretical essays, medical and literary sources to establish that for male commentators are examined, as well as the narrowly biological, female parameters of maternity which were insistently supplanted by images of nurturant mothering, an ungendered activity that could be preempted and associated with male behavior. The remainder focus on representations of motherhood in Old Norse and Icelandic literatures, and on record evidence for the maternal behavior of actual mothers in medieval France, England, and Spain.
Introduction: Medieval Mothering, Medieval Motherers, John C. Parsons and Bonnie Wheeler; Abbreviations; Nurturing Danger: High Medieval Medicine and the Problem(s) of the Child, William F. MacLehose; Milk of Christ: Herzeloyd' as Spiritual Symbol in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, Patricia Ann Quatirin; Pregnant Queen as Counsellor and the Medieval Construction of Motherhood, John C. Parsons; Occlusion of Maternity in Chaucer's Clerk's Tale, Allyson Newton; Maternal Behavior of God: Divine Father as Fantasy Husband, Pamela Sheingorn; Joseph as Mother: Adaptation and Appropriation in the Construction of Male Virtue, Rosemary Drage Hale; Is Mother Superior?: Towards a History of Feminine Amtscharism, Felice Lifshitz; Maternity in Aelred of Rievaulx's Letter to His Sister, Susanna Greer Fein; "In the Meyden's Womb": Julian of Norwich and the Poetics of Enclosure, Maud Burnett McInerney; Inverted Metaphor: Earthly Mothering as Figura of Divine Love in Julian of Norwich's Book of Showings, Andrew Sprung; Old Norse Motherhood, Jenny Jochens; Viking's Mother: Relations Between Mothers and Their Grown Sons in Icelandic Sagas, Stephan Grundy; Female Networks for Fostering Lady Lisle's Daughters, Barbara A. Hanawalt; Looking for Grandmothers: The Pastons and Their Counterparts in Late Medieval England, Joel Rosenthal; Empress Matilda and Her Sons, Marjorie Chibnall; Public Lives, Private Ties: Royal Mothers in England and Scotland, 1070 - 1204, Lois L. Huneycutt; Adela of Blois as Mother and Countess, Kimberley A. LoPrete; Berenguela of Castile's Political Motherhood: The Management of Sexuality, Marriage, and Succession, Miriam Shadis; Family Romance of Guibert of Nogent: His Story/Her Story, Nancy Partner; Contributors