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The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England

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Overview

The cult of St Katherine of Alexandria enjoyed great popularity throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, retaining a wide appeal right up to the Reformation; she appears in a wide variety of contexts, in association with concepts of royal and civic power, by the end of the period becoming identified as a British saint, and acting as a model of the ideal lay Christian and a paradigm of femininity and young womanhood. This study, the first full-scale interdisciplinary examination of a saint's cult in late medieval England, looks at the processes by which she came to have such a prominent place in the devotions of English men and women from across the wide social scale; using written and visual narratives of Katherine's life, in combination with documentary evidence provided by wills, inventories and gild returns, the author shows how devotees perceived and responded to her, and the various religious, social and cultural roles assigned to her. Dr KATHERINE J. LEWIS teaches at the University of Huddersfield.

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