Antifeminist literature of the Middle Ages  

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"In spite therefore of certain ideals of chastity presented by the Christian hagiographies, in spite of the incense burnt at the altar of Woman in romances, at tourneys and in the Courts of Love, there was never a time in the world's history in which women were more grossly insulted, more shamefully reviled, or more basely defamed than they were in the middle ages, by men of every class, beginning with the most serious writers of theology and going down to the mountebanks of the street-plays. The number of anecdotes, trivial or obscene, that drag women in the dirt is simply infiniteā€¦"--Vergil in the Middle Ages (1872) by Domenico Comparetti

Image:Lai d' Aristote.jpg
Aristotle and Phyllis, c. 1485, from the medieval legend Lai d' Aristote, illustrated by the Master of the Housebook

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Antifeminist and anti-matrimonial literature of the Middle Ages is a corpus of antifeminist literature found in medieval texts. In these writings, women are stereotypically portrayed as unfaithful and cunning.

In the corpus is included the Jankyn's Book of Wikked Wyves, a collection of texts mentioned in The Wife of Bath's Tale in The Canterbury Tales.

Other texts in this category are Le Miroir de Mariage by Eustache Deschamps.

Often referenced in the Middle Ages are Tertullian's "An Exhortation to Chastity" and Solomon's downfall because of his polygyny.

In theory, this antifeminism was countered by the concept and practices of courtly love, which idealizes women.

Precursors in Antiquity

Misogyny in Greek literature


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Antifeminist literature of the Middle Ages" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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