Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
As editor of the online Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index, Schaus (Haverford Coll. Lib.) is familiar with current research in the fields of medieval women and medieval gender history. In this encyclopedia, which covers Europe from the fall of Rome to the discovery of the Americas (roughly 450 to 1500 C.E.), she has assembled an impressive list of international scholars to write about their relevant areas of expertise. Eschewing the trend of focusing only on medieval aristocratic women, the authors shed light on women in virtually every facet of medieval life. They pay particular attention to women in the church; included, e.g., is a calendar of female saints. More than 560 signed A-to-Z entries, each varying from a paragraph to several pages long, include cross listings as well as reference and further reading sections (the reference section usually names works published by the contributor). The authors incorporate current research to provide readers with the latest information and address the different methodologies being used in the field. They also discuss historical documents, making readers aware of the types of primary sources available. Rounding out the work are a thematic list of entries, four appendixes (e.g., one devoted to milestones in medieval women's history, one listing the works cited most frequently in the bibliographies at the end of each entry), and a thorough index. Bottom Line By bringing together these two parallel disciplines, this scholarly and comprehensive encyclopedia creates a great addition to medieval studies. While it can be considered the 14th volume in the "Garland Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages" series, it can also definitely stand alone. Highly recommended for academic libraries, especially ones with medieval, women's, or gender studies programs.-Melissa Johnson, Lynn Univ. Lib., Boca Raton, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This is volume 14 in the Routledge (formerly Garland) "Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages" series begun in 1993. Although the earlier numbers were geographical or topical in scope, it is probably fair to say that the defining element here is interpretive. Women and Gender is less about medieval women and more about gender issues than the title suggests or readers might initially anticipate. The 563 entries cover the period from 450 to 1500 and include Islamic Spain, along with selected topics in Byzantium and the crusader East. Some 360 contributors are responsible for entries that vary from 250 to 4,500 words. The entries' relative size does not always reflect either their importance or potential interest. For instance, Brunhild and Fredegund, protagonists in the great Merovingian blood feud, receive little attention, less than that accorded to Christina of Markyate. Mystics are very much the academic fashion at present, so one cannot be too churlish when they receive their due, but how does one explain the lack of an entry for the War of the Three Joans? Notwithstanding such quibbles, this encyclopedia will be of value to undergraduates in feminist and gender studies. They will especially enjoy the bibliographies attached to the entries, which emphasize English but do not avoid foreign tongues when they must. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-/upper-level undergraduates. P. L. Holmer Southern Connecticut State University