Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It Spiral-Bound | February 28, 2023
Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It
A groundbreaking reappraisal of medieval femininity, revealing why women have been written out of history, and why it matters, by BBC historian Janina Ramirez.
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A groundbreaking reappraisal of medieval femininity, revealing why women have been written out of history and why it matters
The Middle Ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings; a patriarchal society that oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the “Dark” Ages were anything but.
Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women’s names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burned, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated.
Only now, through a careful examination of the artifacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women, such as:
- Jadwiga, the only female king in Europe
- Margery Kempe, who exploited her image and story to ensure her notoriety
- Loftus Princess, whose existence gives us clues about the beginnings of Christianity in England
In Femina, Ramirez invites us to see the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why these remarkable women were removed from our collective memories.
"Throughout, Ramirez’s adept scene-setting segues gracefully into deeper considerations of these women’s lives and work. This feminist history fascinates." -Publishers Weekly
“Beautifully written, wonderfully free-ranging and gloriously original, Femina makes us look into the mists of history in new, exciting and provocative ways. A joyous read.”―Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of The Silk Roads
“Janina Ramirez is a born storyteller, and in Femina she is at the peak of her powers. This is bravura narrative history underpinned by passionate advocacy for the women whom medieval history has too often ignored or overlooked. Femina is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the Middle Ages and its place in the modern mind.” ―Dan Jones, bestselling author of Powers and Thrones
“The women of the Middle Ages, so often silent and inconspicuous in our histories, find voice, agency and justice in this brilliant book.” ―Alice Roberts, bestselling author of Ancestors: A prehistory of Britain in seven burials
“Spellbinding, passionate, gripping and magnificently fresh in tone, boldly wide in range, elegantly written, deeply researched, Femina is a ground-breaking history of the Middle Ages. It brings the world to life with women at its very heart, center stage where they belong. What a delight.” ―Simon Sebag Montefiore, bestselling author of Jerusalem: The Biography
“Janina Ramirez is a passionate voice for women in history. With this bold and masterful book, she salvages women's stories from the dark corners into which they have been pushed, and brilliantly restores them to the center of the historical narrative where they have always belonged.” ―Hallie Rubenhold, bestselling author of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
“This is a passionate, energetic, hugely enjoyable and brilliantly observed book. Both a plea for a new way of thinking about history and a commitment to putting women's lives back at the heart of things, I read it in one sitting. Magnificent.” ―Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth
“Femina is an important addition to our understanding of a period still - mistakenly - thought to have excluded women from positions of power and significance. Femina skillfully brings out from the shadows the lives of women who ruled, fought, traded, created, and inspired.” ―Cat Jarman, bestselling author of River Kings: A New History of Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads
“Passionate, provocative and brilliant, this book is a firecracker somehow captured between two covers.” ―Lucy Worsley, author of Jane Austen at Home
“Challenging, inclusive and riveting, Janina Ramirez's book is breaking new grounds. This is a history as you've never read before. A unique page turner.” ―Olivette Otele, author of African Europeans: An Untold History
“As both writer and broadcaster, Dr. Janina Ramirez radiates tremendous passion for her subject. To spend time in her company is to soon find yourself intoxicated by the vast drama of human history, with all its far-off wonders, frustrating mysteries, and tantalizing echoes that still resonate in our modern world.” ―Greg Jenner, author of Ask a Historian and Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity
“Gripping, incisive, brilliant, Janina Ramirez opens a door into hidden worlds, the secrets of women's lives. She is a detective and guide on this, an eye-opening, wonderful journey into the power, beauty and reality of early women's experiences.” ―Kate Williams, author of England's Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton
"If you love history and think you know the Middle Ages, you absolutely must read Femina. With stories of warriors and leaders, scientists and artists, outlaws and royalty, Ramirez will captivate you and turn everything you thought you knew about medieval women upside down. Femina is an incredible achievement and the world is better for it. Run, do not walk, to get it." —Mallory O'Meara, bestselling author of The Lady from the Black Lagoon