The Legends of the Holy Harlots: Thais and Pelagia in Medieval Spanish Literature
The legends of the holy harlots, Thaïs and Pelagia, are two of the most controversial accounts of female sanctity to have circulated in Spain during the Middle Ages. In this book, which reviews the origin and development of their cults, the author reconsiders the relationships that have traditionally been thought to exist between them and three of the other so-called prostitute saints: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, and Mary the niece of Abraham. This is accompanied by an evaluation of the five Castilian versions of the two legends and their Latin sources, followed by a reading of their thematic and structural significance, with particular emphasis paid to the ways in which the two women renounce their sins and embark on the slow and agonizing path of redemption. The book is completed by critical editions of the five Castilian versions. ANDREW M. BERESFORD lectures in Spanish at the University of Durham.
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