A Man’s Mary: Male Devotion to the Virgin Mary in the Later Middle Ages

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Joseph Morgan / Indiana University
contact email: 

Session at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamzoo MI, May 10-13, 2018

Many discussions of Marian piety in the late Middle Ages tend to link imitatio Mariae with women's piety, and focus on Mary's importance in the devotional lives of, for example, Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich. And Mary was important to these women; but, as Caroline Walker Bynum, among others, has noted, Marian piety was not as important to women's spirituality as one might expect. Rather, as several scholars have suggested, Mary may have been more important to medieval male visionaries, and it was the male biographers of women who stress the theme of female imitatio Mariae.


This session therefore hopes to examine some of the ways the Virgin Mary figured in male piety in the later Middle Ages. In what ways was Mary important to male devotional writers, for example, and why might male biographers have (over)emphasized Mary's importance to the spirituality of the women whose lives they wrote? How did engaging with ideas about the Mother of God inform male spirituality, and what manifestations did this Marian piety take? This session seeks to solicit papers that tap into the tradition of male devotion to the Virgin Mary to help uncover the meaning the Virgin Mary held for the many men devoted to her.


Please send abstracts of 250 words for a 15 to 20 minute presentation by 15 September to Joseph Morgan, Indiana University (jhmorgan@indiana.edu).