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The Legends of the Saintly Widows: Paula and Cecilia in Medieval Castilian Prose



This thesis investigates the legends of saintly widows within Medieval Castilian prose, specifically the lives of Saints Paula and Cecilia, in hagiographical works known as Compilation A and Compilation B. These Castilian legends have been reworked from their appearance in the Latin Legenda aurea of c. 1264, composed by Jacobus de Voragine. Chapter One works as an introduction to the thesis. It observes the history of the hierarchy of married, widowed, and virginal women, debating which category of female, if any, was able to attain the highest level of eventual celestial purity. Chapter Two concentrates more specifically on manuscript context. It notes the composition of the original Latin Legenda aurea, in terms of male and female composition as well as looking at the constitution of different categories of saints. Following this the composition of the Castilian Compilations is discussed, including the purposes for writing these filiations and destined audience type. Chapter Three focuses on the reworking of the legend of Saint Paula from the Latin to Compilation A, commenting principally upon textual omissions, alterations, and other significant modifications. Chapter Four undertakes an in-depth thematic analysis of the legend for the same saint. Chapter Five works in much the same way as Chapter Three, here focusing on Saint Cecilia, and Chapter Six mirrors Chapter Four, again looking at the symbolic significance of Saint Cecilia in Medieval Castilian hagiography. Chapter Seven operates as a concluding section to the work, bringing together the concepts at the heart of the saintly widow, and asking if a common ethos can be established between such apparently disparate legends. In an appendix, complete editions of each text are presented for the first time, along with xeroxes of the manuscripts and their Latin sources

Topics: Hagiography Saints Widows Golden Legend
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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