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Early Women Writers

Anna von Munzingen



Anna von Munzingen


Convent of Adelhausen, Freiburg, Germany


d. post 1327


Anna von Munzingen was a German Dominican and Prioress in the monastery Adelhausen in Freiburg. The monastery is attributed to the movement of women's mysticism.Anna came from a patrician family in Freiburg and was first mentioned in 1316 and subsequently in 1317 and 1327 as prioress of the Freiburg Dominican Convent. Around 1318, she wrote a book of sisters titled Adelhausen Schwesternbuch (Sister-book of the Adelhausen Covent). Although this 'chronicle' begins by accounting for the convent’s origins almost a century earlier, its main focus is not external events from the convent’s history, but the spiritual lives of the nuns of her convent and their visions and mystical experiences the late Middle Ages the body was believed to be so essential to personal identity that it was thought to be resurrected with the soul. As with other sister books, it is less an actual chronicle than a hagiographic collection of over 30 saints selected sisters, who give an insight into the mysticism and the life in medieval women monasteries. Anna reveals that not all sisters were willing to share their experiences and insists that if they did not write them, their visions could be lost to subsequent generations of nuns.


Adelhausen Schwesternbuch (Sister-book of the Adelhausen Covent)


Middle-High German


Sisterbook, Hagiographical, Devotional


The Power of a Woman's Voice in Medieval and Early Modern Literatures: New...By Albrecht Classen;
Lindgren, E. L. (2008), Searching for Women in the Records of Women: Two Examples from the South German Dominicans; Church History and Religious Culture, 88(4), 563–580.doi:10.1163/187124108x426745;
Chapter 3, Invented Communities, Idealizing the Past: Redefining Monastic Ideals in the Dominican Sister-Books, 88 Feminine Figurae; Representations of Gender in Religious Texts by Medieval German Women Writers, 1100-1475 by Rebecca L.R. Garber;
Bildhauer, B. (2013), Medieval European conceptions of blood: truth and human integrity; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 19, S57–S76. doi:10.1111/1467-9655.12016;
Woodford, C. (1999), Women as Historians: The Case of Early Modern German Convents; German Life and Letters, 52(3), 271–280.doi:10.1111/1468-0483.00134;
Meri Heinonen (2013) Between Friars and Nuns: The Relationships of Religious Men and Women In Johannes Meyer’s Buch Der Reformacio Predigerordens, Oxford German Studies, 42:3, 237-258, DOI: 10.1179/0078719113Z.00000000038.

Archival Holdings

Manuscript of the Chronik: B1, 98 - 99, Freiburg City Archives; Collection of works from Cloister Adelhausen, containing The Lives of the Sisters of Adelhausen recorded by Anna von Munzingen: B1 108, fol. 199 – 212, Freiburg City Archives.

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