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Figure of Judith in Anglo-Saxon England

Title: The Figure of Judith in Anglo-Saxon England.
Name(s): Urban, Misty, author
Johnson, David F., professor directing thesis
Walker, Eric, committee member
Vitkus, Dan, committee member
Department of English, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2003
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This paper explores the appearances of the character of Judith in the literature of Anglo-Saxon England. Transported from the Apocryphal book of the Old Testament to the Latin Vulgate Bible by St. Jerome, this Hebrew heroine held an enduring fascination for medieval and early modern writers and artists, and her story gained in stature and meaning with each telling. This paper explores the interpretations and implications of the use of the Judith story in Anglo-Saxon times. Focusing on each work in context of the larger tradition, the paper analyzes the impact the literature might have had on its audience, specifically in what it suggests about prevailing attitudes toward women. The exploration will begin with a broad survey of the cultural attitudes concerning women in Anglo-Saxon England and will then proceed to a closer examination of the portrayal of women in various types of literature. Next the paper will examine the tradition of story-telling and interpretation that grew around Judith, beginning during the early years of the Christian Church and flowering in the poetry and prose of Anglo-Saxon England. This paper argues that readings of the Judith story comment revealingly on the place of women in Anglo-Saxon society as well as the possibilities for action and selfhood the Judith stories characterize for the female element of the audience. As a narrative tradition developing into myth, the story of Judith contains and contributes to the culture's consciousness of women as well as the consciousness of individual women. Ultimately, the analysis shows that that Judith's incarnations in Anglo-Saxon England bear a curiously modern relevance. She transcends genre, context, and culture, performing a boundary- and barrier-crossing function which even today can serve to liberate and perpetuate healthy perceptions of culture, community, and womanhood which integrate rather than isolate the female element of society.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1454 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis Submitted to the Department of English in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2003.
Date of Defense: October 13, 2003.
Keywords: Judith Anglo-Saxon Women
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: David F. Johnson, Professor Directing Thesis; Eric Walker, Committee Member; Dan Vitkus, Committee Member.
Subject(s): English literature
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Urban, M. (2003). The Figure of Judith in Anglo-Saxon England. Retrieved from