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Saints' Lives and Women's Literary Culture, 1150-1300Virginity and its Authorizations$
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Jocelyn Wogan-Browne

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112792

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112792.001.0001

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Virginity and the Gift

Virginity and the Gift

(p.57) 2 Virginity and the Gift
Saints' Lives and Women's Literary Culture, 1150-1300


Oxford University Press

This chapter considers post-Conquest virgin saints and foundresses within textual and social paradigms of gift-giving. It proposes that nuptiality is a surface trope of virgin sanctity, the rhetorical face of more complex narratives concerned with so-called ‘dotality’, the virgin's capacity to be given and to give. It is argued that the importance of wholeness and fecundity in virgin figures of foundation and patronage are underestimated in modern concern with the dismemberment and partition of virgin bodies, as is the agency ascribable to these figures.

Keywords:   virginity, virgins, gift giving, nuptiality, dotality

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