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Medieval women's history is entering a new stage. In the last thirty years medievalists have recovered the sources about women, and have moved women to the foreground of narratives to view society from their vantage point. Prosopographic methods have been implemented to learn about the least documented women though they often lack a human face. This volume responds to various questions of how historians are asking. Can we go beyond the most powerful of women while retaining the personal aspect possible with a biographical approach? How can we write about the mundane aspects of female life rarely deemed worthy of textual mention? How far can we extrapolate from our fragmentary sources and yet remain historical?

Scholars working on the history of early modern women have already demonstrated that we can write about women who left only fragmentary evidence of their lives as compelling and illuminating history in part by experimenting with narrative structures. The work in this volume demonstrates that techniques used by these historians can be equally fruitful in writing a more complete history of medieval women. The historians in this collection are looking for ways to expand the ways we examine and write about medieval women. They are interested in the great and the obscure, and women from different times and places. They all attempt to get closer to the life as lived, personified in individual stories. As such, these essays prompt us to rethink what we can know about women, how we can know it, and how we can write about them to expand our insights.

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