Authorship and Authority:

Barking Abbey and Its Texts

Martin E. Segal Theater

CUNY Graduate Center, September 11, 2009

"'Sun num n'i vult dire a ore': Identity Matters at Barking Abbey."

Thelma Fenster, Fordham University emerita and Delbert Russell, University of Waterloo

Among the most persistent questions that have intrigued modern readers of the literature produced at Barking Abbey in the last half of the twelfth century is the relationship between the two saint’s lives written in French: was the nun who wrote the Vie d’Edouard le Confesseur (the Life of Edward the Confessor), who does not wish to identify herself, the same as the author of La Vie de sainte Katherine (the Life of St. Katherine), who identifies herself as Clemence of Barking?

The aims of this study will be:

  1. To extend the identification of  lexical and syntactic elements characteristic of the two lives (using the electronic corpus  of the MARGOT project at the University of Waterloo, which makes transcriptions available of all the texts in the Campsey manuscript, including both Edouard and Katherine), and then to test the results against other databases of medieval French;
  2. To explore thematic traces linking the two poems, such as their dependence upon the vocabulary of Anselmian devotion, now placed in the speech of clearly delineated, heroic female protagonists;
  3. To consider the medieval and modern politics of identity (or not), as this pertains to the two poems.


Last modified: May 6, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Fordham University. All rights reserved.

·General Information
·Conference Program
·Travel and Hotel