Language Recorded 12/25

An Honors-awarded Creative Nonfiction thesis written for the English Department of Wesleyan University. Available for online download here.

            The series of essays that comprise Language Recorded 12/25 explore the lives and writing of European medieval women mystics, the ways in which their lives have been told and retold, my family’s atheist Judaism, and my relationship to both these medieval women and my Jewishness. This work attempts to write medieval women in a historiography that does not reduce them to the aesthetic qualities of their lives, while concurrently exploring different constructions of secular and religious time and space.  By looking far into the past, this work seeks to make a problem of time—all sorts of time—and to consider how this time has been recorded: orally, with mediation, for political ends, and insistently, shockingly, repetitively, refreshingly, as far back as these women’s words have been written down on manuscripts we can access. My thesis strives to shed light on the female figures recording this time, and records my own time spent engaging with them, as well as the questions of memory, identity, and telling that they have provoked.  It seeks to not write history through a single theoretical framework, but rather to engage with queer theory, feminist theory, and various historiographical approaches, in a variety of juxtaposed creative modes, in order to tell medieval women on as close to their own terms as I am able, and to reveal the ways in which they have helped me to tell myself.