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Christina of Markyate - Essay Example

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The purpose of the paper “Christina of Markyate” is to discuss the book, The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse, which  is intended to provide readers an insight into the life of a prioress so that they can live by her example…
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Christina of Markyate
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Christina of Markyate

Download file to see previous pages... Christina was educated which also made her unusual for her time period. Through a unique biography written during her time, Christina has become immortal through literary history in the story of her life and of the many ways in which she fought to hold true to her virtue in order to serve God. The book, The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse is intended to provide readers an insight into the life of a prioress so that they can live by her example. It is believed that the surviving copy of the book was written near the middle of the fourteenth century, perhaps written at St Albans under the direction of John of Tynemouth for a series on the lives of saints that he was assembling. The original text is available which is written in one persons handwriting, although there are notes on the pages from others, and is said to be quite beautiful (Talbot 1). The manuscript, that came to belong to Sir Robert Cotton and was within the Cottonian collection, was damaged during the fire of 1731. However, only the first page and the last page seemed to have sustained any significant damage (Talbot 3). The only things that are known of the one who wrote the biography is that he was a monk in the monastery of St. Albans. It is clear that the biography, in its original form, was written by someone who was close to Christina and who was very familiar with Geoffrey de Gorham, the wealthy abbot of St Albans who offered support to Christina. The writer refers to ‘our monastery’, thus creating the impression that the monastery where Christina made her place, St Albans, is also his monastery (Talbot 6). Through the personalized way in which he describes the lives of the characters in her life, it is probable that he knew them all. Christiana was born into an Anglo-Saxon noble family at the end of the 11th century. Her name was originally Theodora, but she changed her name to Christina. Her family was in danger, however, because of the French occupation of England and in this situation, the Anglo-Saxon nobility was almost powerless. Christina went with her family to St Alban to pray and the effect that the visit had on her was to turn her devotion to God. She swore her virginal state to God as a devotion to a life in his service. However, a man decided to marry her and asked her father for permission. Her biography suggests a great many ways in which her parents tried to trick her into losing her virginity to her future husband, but through her own tricks and prayer, she was able to keep sacred her virginity (Amt 139). Christina is portrayed as being very intelligent, an intelligence that is recognized by her parents. One of the aspects of Medieval life for women was in the commoditization of their lives. Women were essentially sold into marriage in exchange for whatever the parents of that woman needed, whether that be political considerations, money, or social prestige. Through Christina, her parents could find a match that would benefit their lives. Talbot translates that her biography states “For if she remained chaste in love of Christ, they feared they would lose her, and all that they could hope to gain through her” (Talbot 69). As a woman, Christina was intended to be a product rather than a person, an object rather than the subject of her own life. In her refusal to her parents in front of the Fredebertus of the monastery, she states “. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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