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.
"The editors are to be congratulated on the sensitivity with which they have placed the essays in linked groupings, and the individual contributors on their scholarship. The essays are highly readable and, as well as being insightful, provide excellent guidelines for future study." -- Parergon
"The collection provides an exciting and insightful overview of medieval mothering, one that significantly enhances our appreciation of both the medieval theory and practice of this complex activity." -- The Medieval Review