This book challenges the belief that female virginity can be
reliably and unambiguously defined, tested and verified. Kelly
analyses a variety of medieval Western European texts - including
medical treatises and their Classical antecedents - and historical
and legal documents. The main focus is the representation of both
male and female virgins in saints' legends and romances. The author
also makes a comparative study of examples from contemporary
fiction, television and film in which testing virginity is a theme.
Performing Virginity and Testing Chastity in the Middle Ages
presents a compelling and provocative study of the parodox of
bodily and spiritual integrity as both presence and absence.
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