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Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend

ISBN: 978-1-4051-0046-5
172 pages
December 2002, Wiley-Blackwell
Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend (140510046X) cover image
This book investigates who Lady Godiva was, how the story of her naked horseback ride through Coventry arose, and how the whole Godiva legend has evolved from the thirteenth century through to the present day.

  • Traces the erotic myth of Lady Godiva back to its medieval origins.
  • Based on scholarly research but written to be accessible to general readers.
  • Combines history, literature, art and folklore.
  • Focuses on the twin themes of voyeurism and medievalism.
  • Contributes to our understanding of cultural history, medievalism and the history of sexuality.
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Acknowledgements.

List of Illustrations.

List of Abbreviations.

Introduction.

1. Godgifu of Mercia.

2. Godiva Emerges.

3. Godiva's Progress.

4. Peeping Tom.

5. Godiva Domesticated.

6. Godiva Displayed.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.
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Daniel G. Donoghue is Professor of English at Harvard University. He is the author of Style in Old English Poetry (1987) and co-editor, with Seamus Heaney, of Beowulf: A Verse Translation (2002). He is also the author of the chapter on Lady Godiva in Literary Appropriations of the Anglo-Saxons from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century (eds Donald Scragg and Carole Weinberg, 2000).
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  • Traces the erotic myth of Lady Godiva back to its medieval origins.


  • Based on scholarly research but written to be accessible to general readers.


  • Combines history, literature, art and folklore.


  • Focuses on the twin themes of voyeurism and medievalism.


  • Contributes to our understanding of cultural history, medievalism and the history of sexuality.
See More
"There is much of interest in this unpretenious, historically grounded and thoughtful book[...]For those seeking ways of exploring the new discipline of medievalism, that is, how the medieval past is viewed, guiltily or otherwise, by successive eras - Daniel Donoghue's study offers an inspiring model of clarity and cogency." Times Literary Supplement

"Intelligent yet entertaining, this text will appeal to readers interested in folklore, literature, history, and pop culture. [...] Highly recommended." Choice

"Donoghue's history of Lady Godiva is a luxurious, gratifying read - one feels upon finishing it that one has become quite the expert on this slightly naughty topic![...] Donoghue's writing style is upbeat and enjoyably irreverent, conveying hs personal enthusiasm for a subject which he has obviously researched exhaustively and conscientiously." Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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