Postgraduate Research (Negotiating Intimacy: Women, Letters and Learning in the High Middle Ages, Diana Jeske)

Jeske - research imageMy work focuses on the comparative analysis of late eleventh- and early twelfth-century Latin letters of love, friendship and intimacy written by both women and men from Central France and Western Germany. I am interested in furthering our understanding of this literary phenomenon and what insight it can give into the negotiation and creation of intimate relationships through the exchange of letters, educational practices for women, philosophical ideas about the nature of love and friendship during this time, as well as the agency of women in developing and sharing ideas about love, friendship and intimacy. I am also interested in how the epistolary format allowed women to participate in scholarly debate and exchange with their male teachers, lovers or friends yet also affected the nature of that debate and exchange. Currently I am focused on examining the poetic compositions of Baudri of Bourgueil and Constance of Le Ronceray and the broader social context in which they were created. In future I plan to return and build on earlier examinations I have made of the ‘Epistolae Duorum Amantium’, The Tegernsee Love Letters and the Regensburg Verses. More broadly I am interested in the history of education, especially women’s education, during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as well as the history of letters and letter-writing.