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Hrosvit of Gandersheim

Page history last edited by Lindsey Bell 11 years, 11 months ago

Hrosvit of Gandersheim






Like many other medieval women writes there is little known about Hrosvit of Gandershei. Though it is assumed that she lived between 937c.e. and 1000 c.e. She is presumed to have been born to a rich Saxon family and to have entered the abbey of Gandershei at a young age. She latter became a canoness Imperial at the Abby of Gandershei during the rule of GerbergaII. Also Hrosvit’s name alone has many variations; Hrotswit, Hrotwitha, and Roswitha. With all of this assumed or suggested through her wok it is known that she is the first known dramatist of Christianity and the first female historian of Germany.


Hrosvit’s writing is known to show dramatic and poetic ingenuity. Eight legends, six plays, two epics, and one short poem are attributed to Hrosvit of Gandershei. All of theses works are comprised into three books and many are based on hagiography, or the biography of saints. The first book comprises Hrosvits legends were the major theme focuses on exalting the virtue of virginity. In these stories she demonstrates the women’s true heroism and the men as villain, yet the men are not only shown as villains but also as pagans. Her second book comprises her plays. This book is her most original and has been said to also be the most important of the three. The last book, book three, comprises of two epics.








Chance, Jane. The Literary Subversions of Medieval Women. New York: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2007.23-39.


"Hagiography - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. 02 May 2009 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hagiography>.


Wilson, Katharina. "Hrotsvit of Gandersheim." Def. DLB. Dictionary of Literary Biography: German Writers and Works if the Early Middle Ages:800-1170. Ed. Will Hasty and James Hardin. 148 vols. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1995. 79-87.


Wilson, Katharina M., ed. Medieval Women Writers. Athens: University of Georgia P, 1984.30-63.

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