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“She Koude Muchel Of Wandrynge By The Weye: ”Pilgrimage And The Fear Of Wandering Women

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores discussions of women's mobility, and especially pilgrimage, in several later medieval texts, noting their common heritage and their repetition of similar elements. It first locates the roots of the castigation of mobile women in the late Antique misogynist tradition, in both social commentary and in medicine. The chapter then examines the ways in which these same ideas appeared in later medieval satire and allegory. But the ongoing concern about women's mobility was not entirely a satirical or humorous one. It also appeared in proscriptive literature, wherein women were warned against needless travel, and were instructed in how to avoid misbehavior when they did appear in public. The most striking later medieval examples of the trope of the wandering woman were satirical caricatures and allegorical representations, female figures who were lampooned for the sexual and materialistic ill-conduct which was presented as the prime motivator for their travels.

Keywords: later medieval allegory; later medieval satire; pilgrimage; wandering woman



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