This collection of essays explores the place, function, and meaning of women as characters, authors, constructs, and cultural symbols in a variety of epics from the Middle Ages, including those of Persia, Spain, France, England, Germany, and Scandinavia. Medieval epics are traditionally believed to narrate the deeds of men at war. This volume draws our attention not only to the key roles women often play in these narratives, but also to the larger implications they might have for the history of gender. Rather than invite simple cross-cultural generalizations about epic women, however, this book bears witness to the complex gender configurations molded by the rich epic literature of the medieval period.
'...a welcome and imaginative treatment of a too-little investigated topic.' - Carolyne Larrington, Modern Language Review