Mary Dockray-Miller

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Mary Dockray-Miller (born 1965) is an American scholar of Anglo-Saxon England, best known for her work on gender in the Anglo-Saxon period. She has published on female saints, on Beowulf, and on religious women.[1] She teaches at Lesley University, where she is professor of English.

Dockray-Miller is the author of Motherhood and Mothering in Anglo-Saxon England (St. Martin's Press, 2000), which utilized postmodern gender theory (the work of Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, and others) to reinvestigate historical elements, such as double houses and Anglo-Saxon religious women, and literature, including Beowulf. At the time, it was "the first and only monograph on motherhood to appear in Anglo-Saxon studies".[2] The book received a fair amount of attention from reviewers, though opinions were mixed, one reviewer stating that "her historical analyses, however, are unsatisfying and problematic" and that Dockray-Miller too easily conflates patriarchy with heroic society.[3] On the other hand, a reviewer in Speculum praised the book as "well argued and an important contribution to women's studies and Anglo-Saxon scholarship"[4] One reviewer pointed out flaws and strengths: "Yet such problematic moments [renaming Grendel's Mother "the seawulf", and excluding Elene and Mary from her discussion of mothers] are offset by the books more sustained strengths: an exciting and original topic whose exploration raises awareness of motherhood in an early culture, and a persuasive thesis that is supported by fascinating historical analysis."[2] Her chapter on mothers in Beowulf was considered "intriguing and persuasive" by one reviewer, but with the caveat that the conclusion on the politics of motherhood was "sketchy".[5]

Her most recent monograph is Saints Edith and Æthelthryth: Princesses, Miracle Workers, and their Late Medieval Audience (Brepols, 2009).[6] She has published numerous journal articles is a contributor to the Historical Dictionary of Women's Education in the United States (Greenwood, 1998).[7]


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