Women have been part of the literary world for years, and this inclusion was thought to date back to the middle ages in the west. Now, a new finding shows that women started writing way before the middle ages even began, dating back to the eighth century. There is an eighth century abbess who is known to write the first surviving example of poetry that is known to be authored by an Englishwoman. Another woman, a nun, wrote a full length prose book in English. Unfortunately, her name was not explicit in the text.
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Now a new history of women’s literature has been found to date back farther than expected. Earlier histories have deliberately excluded the contribution women have made to early literature. Some of the earliest female writers in Europe is Marie De France from the 12th century, and in the 14th century, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. According to a Professor at the University of Surrey, men often rewrote work originally written by women.
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Now there is a book by Diane Watts, which is going to take in depth look into the women writers of the past, writers we’re just learning about. The book is titled, Women, Writing, and Religion in England and Beyond 650-1100. The book will show how women played a part in literature, and it brings a lot of early on female writers together, such as, Leoba, an English missionary, and an abbess of Tauberbischofshiem in Franciona, who died in 782. There is also something written by an English nun. One of Leoba’s surviving letters is one of the earlier forms of poetry. All of these interesting women are part of a writing history that helped start the careers of the amazing women writers of the past and present.
Be sure to get a more in depth look into these earlier female writers, here.
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