Building on current monster theory and adding to research on medieval women in literature, this study reclaims the Middle English romance as a sophisticated literary strategy that, in its narrative reflexivity—and its use of a fictionalized thirdspace—reveals how medieval rhetoric essentially makes women into monsters.
“Dr. Urban’s study is at once an elegantly provocative yet accessible introduction to these unusual works, and a many-sided consideration of the challenge that all these works raise.” – Andrew Galloway, Cornell University
“Texts like Melusine or the “Man of Law’s Tale” seemed essentially opaque to modern readers, but it is clear from Professor Urban’s study that they are very rich and interesting indeed when read as texts expressing and illustrating deep cultural and political anxieties about the role of women who are simultaneously foundational and yet excluded from the normative political and social order. This is an important study which should be widely read in classes concerned with feminist theory and medieval romance.” – Thomas D. Hill, Cornell University
“Urban suggests that female monsters create a new space, a thirdspace, in which the constructiveness of patriarchal society is critically exposed, predicating this epistemological operation on the establishment of the absolute Other, woman. This new monograph impresses the reader with its solid combination of recent theoretical approaches to monstrosity with a careful, sound reading of the relevant Middle English texts.” – Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona
“Magical Fountains in Middle English Romance.” In The Nature and Function of Water, Baths, Bathing, and Hygiene from Antiquity through the Renaissance. Eds. Cynthia Kosso and Anne Scott. Leiden: Brill, 2009.
“National and Transnational Forces in Judith” in Medieval Perspectives 19 (2006): 269-283.
“Sexual Compulsion and Sexual Violence in the Lais of Marie de France.” In Teaching Rape in the Medieval Literature Classroom: Approaches to Difficult Texts. Ed. Alison Gulley. Forthcoming from Medieval Institute Press.
“The Unicorn Learns Accountability.” In Ballad of The Lone Medievalist. Eds. Kisha G. Tracy and John Sexton. Forthcoming from Punctum.
“How the Dragon Ate the Woman: The Fate of Melusine in England.” In Melusine’s Footprint: Tracing the Legacy of a Medieval Myth. Eds. Melissa Ridley Elmes, Deva Kemmis-Hicks, and Misty Urban. Forthcoming with Brill’s Explorations in Medieval Culture series.
“Women’s Weapons in The White Queen.” Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers. Eds. Janice North, Ellie Woodacre, and Karl Alvestad. In preparation.