Deborah Frick has a B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics as well as German Literature from the University of Zurich and an M.A. in English Studies, Renaissance Studies from the University of Exeter. She is currently taking part in the PhD Program in English and American Literary Studies and is working on a PhD thesis on Authority and Authorship in Medieval and Seventeenth Century Women’s Visionary Writings.
PhD Project: Authority and Authorship in Medieval and Seventeenth Century Women’s Visionary Writings
My dissertation will analyse several texts by medieval visionary writers, such as Julian of Norwich, the first known English woman writer, and Margery Kempe in comparison to seventeenth-century visionary writings by authors such as Anna Trapnel, Mary Cary, Anne Wentworth and Katherine Chidley, in order to investigate how these women authorise themselves in their writings and what topoi they use to find a voice and place of their own. This comparison, furthermore, and the strikingly similar topoi that are used by the female visionaries not only allows to question and examine topics such as text, language, authority, authorship, images of voice, body and origins that are still highly relevant in literary analysis and literature in general today, but it also breaks down preconceived and artificial boundaries and definitions, such as period boundaries and the concept of what is literature. Thus, the aim of my dissertation is not only to investigate how women gain authority and authorship in their texts, but also to bridge the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period and to give voice to lesser known women writers.
Early Modern English literature, religion, visionary writings, gender, voice, authority and authorship, John Milton