Widows in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Britain

by Marie-Françoise Alamichel (Author)
©2009 Monographs 357 Pages


This volume provides a comprehensive study of widowhood in Medieval Britain based on literary and historical sources from the seventh to the fifteenth centuries. The book is divided into two parts: the first deals with the Anglo-Saxon period, the second with the Medieval period. Because widows shared certain preoccupations specific to their status, the two parts deal with similar topics: the fundamental role played by the Church in the doctrine of marriage, and the dominant male discourse about widows. Widows had a specific legal status: special laws affected their lives and their relationships with their children and other relatives. Much attention is consequently devoted to family structures and to the legal and social aspects of inheritance. The volume also explores the various options widowhood offered and the highly debated degree of independence widows had in their life choices.


ISBN (Softcover)
Sozialgeschichte 600-1500 England Witwe The Church Remarriage Religion Social convention
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 357 pp., num. tables and graphs

Biographical notes

Marie-Françoise Alamichel (Author)

The Author: Marie-Françoise Alamichel was educated at the Sorbonne from where she received a Ph.D. for her thematic study and translation of twelfth-century Layamon’s Brut. She was a lecturer in English at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne for ten years and is currently Professor of English Medieval Studies at the University of Marne-la-Vallée (France). She has published many articles on the early Arthurian corpus, and medieval ideas, feelings and values.


Title: Widows in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Britain