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Anna KomneneThe Life and Work of a Medieval Historian$
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Leonora Neville

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498177.001.0001

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Crying like a Woman and Writing like a Man

Crying like a Woman and Writing like a Man

Chapter:
(p.61) 4 Crying like a Woman and Writing like a Man
Source:
Anna Komnene
Author(s):

Leonora Neville

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190498177.003.0005

This chapter addresses those moments of the Alexiad when Anna Komnene switches from writing in a dispassionate, masculine historian’s voice to a highly feminized voice of pathos-laden lamentation, such as when she mourns Andronikos Komnenos, Constantine Doukas, Nikephoros Bryennios, or Alexios Komnenos. It discusses connections between Anna’s writing and medieval, late antique and classical Greek discourse of female lamentation. It offers several explanations for why Anna switches roles at these moments and how a lamenting posture helps strengthen her history. The chapter also discusses how Anna’s overt movements into and out of masculine historical discourse function to display her capacity to control her emotions, and hence her ability to write dispassionate history.

Keywords:   Anna Komnene, lamentation, dispassion, gender, Andronikos Komnenos, Constantine Doukas, Nikephoros Bryennios, Alexios Komnenos, Alexiad

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