Reed to Discuss Her Book on the Virgin Mary March 15
By Randy Wilson
Dr. Teresa Reed
JSU News Bureau
Dr. Teresa Reed, Jacksonville State University associate professor of
English, will discuss her book, Shadows of Mary: Understanding Images
of Mary through Medieval Text (University of Wales Press, 2003),
during a meeting of Friends of the Houston Cole Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday,
March 15 on the 11th floor of the library. The event is open to the
Dr. Reed, whose book will be available for purchase and signing, wrote
about the myths of Mary's body in medieval Christianity.
Dr. Reed teaches, among other courses, freshman composition, a Chaucer
seminar, and feminist theory. She received her Ph.D. from the University
of Florida. Dr. Reed's specialty is Middle English (the period from
about 1100 to 1500) literature with an interest in the feminist point
Dr. Reed said, "The inspiration for this book came from research I performed
for my dissertation. I have always been interested in how woman were
portrayed in medieval literature."
The presentation will include a discussion of the disputes about Mary's
physical existence. According to Dr. Reed, during the European Middle
Ages the definitions of womanhood were filtered through that culture's
perspective on the Virgin Mary.
"One of the most misunderstood elements of Mary was that she was a real,
historical person with real problems. She had to face the day-to-day
hardships of life that any other woman of her time would have. In medieval
times, she became the 'symbol' or 'measuring stick' by which all woman
Dr. Reed's book is filled with myth-busting facts. During her presentation,
Dr. Reed will talk about some of the issues that helped create the myths
about Mary and her body, including Mary's conception and birth, virginity,
motherhood, role as a wife, and her death.
"What I hope to accomplish with this book is to shed light on how the
perception of woman in medieval times was distorted by religious entities
and biblical doctrines. They manipulated the image of Mary to fit their
concepts of what a woman should be."
Dr. Reed has published articles about Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale,
recordings of medieval texts in connection with Chaucer Studio, and
written about the Middle English poem Pearl.
Portions of this article were drawn from Saltire, the newsletter
of Friends of the Houston Cole Library.
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