Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (1403 words)


Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, a tenth-century canonisse (not fully a nun, though still living in a sort of monastic community) in the Benedictine convent of Gandersheim (today Bad Gandersheim near Brunswick in northern Germany), is the best proof that many of our notions of women’s contributions to medieval literature, as being just marginal or irrelevant voices, are simply wrong. In fact, Hrotsvit easily emerges as one of the best playwrights of the entire Middle Ages. She was also a highly accomplished author of religious narratives (legends) and some chronicle poems about her own convent and the life of her relative, Emperor Otto the First, also known as the Great (912‒973). Even though she expressed herself only in Latin, we …

Citation: Classen, Albrecht. "Hrotsvit of Gandersheim". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 January 2021 [, accessed 25 January 2021.]

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