Dame Study and Women’s Literacy
L’s choice of feminine gender for the figure of Study derives both from the Augustinian notion of the feminine text and the contemporary gendering of the vernacular reader as feminine in the Oxford translation debates. Study, an embodiment of the physical process of learning to read, represents a learning both literate and illiterate, vernacular and Latin. Her inability to understand Latinate theology (10.182-83) embeds her in the debates about Latin and the vernacular, favoring the vernacular in the same way PPl does. An emblem of affective reading, she emphasizes communal, lay perception. As the wife of Wit, she dramatizes the competition for a reader’s conscience, emphasizing charity and social activism, providing the intermediary between Thought and Imaginatif.
YLS 12 (1998): 97-115