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Critical Cluster Bringing Iberian Women Writers into the Canon Guest Editors Dawn Bratsch-Prince and Montserrat Piera Arxiu Historic de la Ciutat de Barcelona, MS L-18, folio G (parchment, 406 folios, 41 .5 ? 63 cm; scribe Joan Esteve; illuminator Bernât Martorell, d. 1451). This illumination serves as a framed frontispiece for the first page ofthe Comentaría super Usaticis Barchinonae (Comentaris als usatges de Barcelona) written in Latin by Jaume Marquilles (1 368- 145 1). The presentation miniature shows Maria ofCastile presiding over a session ofthe Conseil de Cent, the town council of Barcelona, with Catalan jurist Jaume Marquilles formally presenting to the Queen and consellers his commentaries on the Usatges, the fundamental law code of the city. The five principal consellers seated directly on the Queen's right —Bernât Sapila, Pere Romeu, Pere Serra, Berenguer Llull, and Felip de Ferrera- are dressed in their official gramalla, the distinctive fur-trimmed red robes of their office. TRANSFORMING THE MEDIEVAL IBERIAN CANON: FINDING A SPACE FOR WOMEN Dawn Bratsch-Prince Iowa State University In their compelling analysis of the gender of the Hispanic literary canon, Crista Johnson and Joan Brown show that the representation of female authors, across centuries and continents, on required reading lists at Ph.D.-granting institutions in the United States is, at best, minimal and inconsistent. Scholarly activity on women writers, however , is substantial -one might even say vigorous- and so sadly at odds with those lists of required or canonical works. Johnson and Brown ask: "How much time must elapse before current scholarly trends are communicated to the next generation of scholars?" (1998, 473). The last two decades of the twentieth century witnessed great strides in the amount and scope of scholarly research on women's history in medieval Iberia,1 and women's literary history, too, received attention from an array of scholars, male and female.2 At long last, some of the better known female-authored texts have been made available to scholars via critical editions and thematic anthologies.3 Acutely missing from this activity has been a conversation on how female-authored texts can be best incorporated into the mainstream of literary and historical canons. How do we present these works to students who have been 1 See A.M. Aguado 1994; Elisa Garrido, et al, 1997; Heath Dillard 1984; Mary Nash 1988; Alain Saint-Saens 1997; Marilyn Stone and Carmen Benito Vessels 1998; Teresa María Vinyoles i Vidal 1983, 1984, 1993, 1996. 2 See Carolyn L. Galerstein 1986; Linda Gould Levine 1993; Francisco López Estrada 1986; Carmen Marimón Llorca 1990; Kathleen McNerney and Cristina Enriquez de Salamanca 1994; Louise Mirrer 1992, 1996; Ronald Surtz 1990, 1995. 3 ElectaArenal and Stacey Schlau 1989; Amy KatzKaminsky 1997; MiguelAngel Pérez Priego 1989; MariaJesús Rubiera Mata 1989. La corónica 32.1 (Fall, 2003): 7-13 8 Dawn Bratsch-PrinceLa coránica 32.1, 2003 implicitly taught that medieval and early modern women did not write, or that the odd one who did wrote something "less than literary"? As Lola Luna accurately asserts, "aún parece ejercerse una política de exclusión que elimina a las mujeres de la institución 'Historia de la literatura'" (1995, 128). Women writers, she continues, are either relegated to a separate universe of "feminine" writing, or they are regendered as transgressive or "masculine" writers (128). Nor do the types of works they composed fit into the general definition of literature , which frequently omits religious prose texts, letters and treatises . By virtue of their exclusion from canonical anthologies and reading lists, women authors are perceived as not measuring up to some undefined, yet understood, benchmark. The nine articles in this Critical Cluster focus on how to go about the (re)placement or (re)incorporation of these texts and voices into a body of canonical texts. Of utmost importance is the consideration of how these works can be best presented to students who struggle to accept female-authored texts as "real" or "valid". Among the questions we pose are: How do these texts fit into what we typically value and teach? Given the current configuration of anthologies in our field, how can these...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 5-13
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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