Women Book Owners in Late-Medieval Francophone Europe: 1350 – 1500

A digital humanities project which aims to collect and organize data related to medieval laywomen and their books. The project will allow users to search an online database of late-medieval women and the books and texts they owned. A collaboration with S.C. Kaplan (Rice University).

BL Harley MS 4431

Our initial data collection suggests that late-medieval women book owners did not belong to national reading communities but instead were members of transnational reading networks defined by social groups, familial connections, and political alliances. The project aims to chart a transnational and multilingual literary community of late-medieval female readers.

The geographic scope of the project will initially be limited to England and French-speaking regions on the continent, including France and Burgundy. The time frame of the project is currently bounded between 1350 and 1500, a period of intense political, interfamilial, and interpersonal changes and exchanges due to the Hundred Years War. At the moment, the core of the database concerns aristocratic laywomen and their books because data on these women is the most readily available. We hope to eventually expand the project to include women from other classes and additional regions of interest, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Germany.