Trans/Medieval

A Handlist of sources for Medieval Transgender Studies

Prompted by a recent discussion of available scholarship on Gender in Medieval Studies, I decided to compile a list of resources specifically relating to transgender studies for the Middle Ages.

(Work in progress – I’ll continue updating this as long as I come across new resources. If you have any suggestions for resources that would suit this list, please email me at transmedieval@gmail.com)

Literary sources

Old French & Occitan

  • Heldris de Cornualle, Le Roman de Silence – brilliant verse narrative by Heldris de Cornualle; in many ways a classic making-of-a-knight narrative, following the story of Silence. Born a girl but raised as a boy, the story of Silence is an important witness to conceptions of gender variance in medieval French literature.
    • Editions:
      • Roche-Mahdi, Sarah. Silence: A Thirteenth-century French Romance. East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1992.
        (an excellent facing page translation)
  • Christine de Pizan, Mutacion de Fortune
    • Editions:
      • Pisan, Christine de. 1959 [-1966]. Le Livre de la Mutacion de Fortune, publié d’après les manuscrits par Suzanne Solente. IV vols. Paris: Publications de la Société des anciens textes français.
  • Tristan de Nanteuil – a section of this story pertains to a transmasculine character called Blanchandin. Both this story and the text below, La Chanson d’Yde et Olive, feature divine intervention in the form of gender-affirming physical changes brought about by the will of God.
    • Editions:
      • Tristan de Nanteuil: Chanson de Geste Inédite, ed. K. V. Sinclair. (Assen: Van Corcum and
        Company, 1971)
  • La Chanson d’Yde et Olive
  • Meraugis de Portlesquez
    • See the discussion in Keith Busby’s “Plus acesmez qu’une popine”: Male Cross-Dressing in Medieval French Narrative.” [See below]

Criticism

  • Busby, Keith. 2014. “”Plus acesmez qu’une popine”: Male Cross-Dressing in Medieval French Narrative.” In Gender Transgressions: Crossing the Normative Barrier in Old French Literature, edited by Karen J. Taylor, 45-60. New York: Routledge.
    [First published 1998, by Garland Publishing, Inc.]
  • Hotchkiss, V. (1990). Clothes Make the Man: Female Transvestism in the Middle Ages. Ph.D. Yale University.
  • McCracken, Peggy. 1994. “”The Boy who was a Girl”: Reading Gender in the Roman de Silence.” Romantic Review 517-536.
  • Weisl, Angela Jane. 2009. “How to be a Man, though Female: Changing Sex in Medieval Romance.” Medieval Feminist Forum 110-137.

Medieval Spanish

  • Romance de la doncella guerrera – a fantastic medieval ballad on similar lines to the Silence and Blanchandin stories above. Extant in several versions. [More detail to be added soon]

Old Norse

  • Nítíða saga – This is definitely a debatable inclusion on the list, but the non-normative gender roles in the meykóngasaga (maiden king saga) genre makes for an interesting comparison with other sources from medieval Europe.
    • Editions:
    • Criticism:
      • Ragnheiðardóttir, V. (2014). Kynjuð yfirnáttúra: Samband kyngervis og galdurs í meykóngasögum. MA. University of Iceland.
        [A very interesting thesis on the relationship between gender, sex, and magic in the meykóngasaga genre. Part of the project Medieval Icelandic Encounters with the Paranormal]
      • Werronen, Sheryl McDonald. 2016. Popular Romance in Iceland: The Women, Worldviews, and Manuscript Witnesses of Nítíða Saga. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press

Sections coming soon: General criticism; English literary sources; Transgender studies and the Global Middle Ages

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s