il Mulino

Cover Women in Flight
series "Intersezioni"
pp. 184, Brossura, 978-88-15-27147-1
publication year 2017


Women in Flight

Defiant Lives in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, women were subject to legal and social discrimination, enjoyed no economic independence, were placed under men’s protection and custody, and forced to conform to strict rules of conduct. A woman was ipso facto a rebel if she refused to fulfil her family's wishes, obey men, fathers, husbands or masters, or displayed independence in her judgment or behaviour. This book tells the story of these women - some famous and some unknown, including saints, queens, abbesses, simple nuns, humble peasants, servants, slaves, heretics, witches and prostitutes. They defied society and chose to elude their destiny by resisting, opposing, fleeing, travelling, learning, teaching, working, fighting, preaching... Or they merely defended themselves from abusive husbands, brutal masters, or being burned at the stake by the Inquisition. The text features Margery Kempe, Joan of Arc, Saint Bridget, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and many other nameless, forgotten women yearning for freedom.

Maria Serena Mazzi formerly taught Medieval History at the University of Ferrara.

I. Uscire dai limiti
1. Donne «stravaganti»
2. Per non arrendersi
3. Mistiche e visionarie
II. Nella buona e nella cattiva sorte
1. Il buon matrimonio
2. Una fanciulla altolocata e tenace
3. Spose infelici
4. «Per paura e per ubbidienza»
5. Povere donne
III. Recluse
1. Gli istituti religiosi
2. Per loro o contro di loro?
3. Oltre l'ortodossia: le eretiche
4. Chi ha paura delle streghe?
IV. Via dai padroni
1. «Una vita a servizio dei ricchi»
2. «Son femine bestiali»
3. Il prezzo della libertà