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A Medieval Life

Judith Bennett

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full title ·  A Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock c. 1295–1344

author · Judith M. Bennett

type of work · Biography

genre · Nonfiction; biography; historical narrative; individual history; medieval history; English history; women’s history

language · English

time and place written · 1997–1999, North Carolina

date of first publication · 1999

publisher · McGraw-Hill College

narrator · Judith M. Bennett

point of view · The narrator speaks in the third person, attempting to give a complex and detail-oriented overview of the society in which Cecilia lives. The narrator often refers to Cecilia in order to speculate on how she might have acted in a certain historical situation.

tone · Speculative; informative; balanced; straightforward

tense · Past

setting (time) · The late thirteenth and early to mid-fourteenth centuries

setting (place) · Brigstock, a rustic and wooded manor located in central England

protagonist · Cecilia Penifader

major conflict · Cecilia attempts to survive and prosper as a singlewoman in medieval England.

themes · The universality of women’s experiences; the disenfranchisement of all women; social class as destiny

motifs · Family; those who work, those who pray, those who fight; the number three

symbols · Surnames; the Great Famine, the Black Death

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