Authorship and Authority:

Barking Abbey and Its Texts

Martin E. Segal Theater

CUNY Graduate Center, September 11, 2009

“’The Ladies are Making Me Quite Fat’: Literary Cooperation between Barking and Canterbury”

Thomas O’Donnell, University of York

Besides the works written by the sisters themselves at Barking during  the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Abbey also employed to  itinerant writers Goscelin de Saint-Bertin and Guernes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence to write saints' lives and histories of interest to the community.  Goscelin and Guernes were both Continental writers   whose careers were shaped most famously at Canterbury, whose complex of religious institutions also influenced Barking artistically, politically, and spiritually.  In my paper I'd like to explore the nature of the relationship between the two churches and suggest that   the nuns adapted the learned traditions of male monasticism to suit themselves only to offer back this product to Canterbury in ways that  influenced that scene as well.

Last modified: May 6, 2009
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