To understand how the feminine authority was configured, the project will focus on women’s writing (that is, texts authored or commissioned by women) and it will investigate to what extent they sought either to copy or to reject reigning discourses of power, and of the models of self-representation which women adopted. This approach will enable us to draw up a balance of successes and failures in their construction of a social and cultural authority, and to speculate on causes and effects. The analysis will embrace practices of reading and writing about women, for women, and by women, insofar as these shaped the rules of play in women’s literature. Based upon a study of the readings and works promoted or consumed by women at court and in the convent, we will consider both models and anti-models, and also the counterpoint of male views as expressed in manuals of behaviour and other texts designed to control, or at least channel, the new modes of authority.

Our main objectives are:

  • To create a database that gathers information on textual transmission, documentation and bilbliography.
  • To map the rise of femine authority by digital means to explore spatial connections.
  • To author a number of monographs that give a fair account of our corpus from a historical and literary point of view.
  • To increase the awareness on the rise of femine authority through our digital website using digital means such as digital exhibitions and semantic technology to link content.