This is a book of representations and self-representations, meant to display the variety and range of female experience as imagined in the medieval period. Some imaginings may, as Klapisch-Zuber warns, have pretensions to naturalism, but here we must be at our most wary as readers. Which medieval woman, real or otherwise, could be as lifelike as Chaucer’s Wife of Bath? And which other medieval woman has generated as much uncertainty as to how she may be interpreted: as a feisty protofeminist, as a fully realized psychological character, at once brave and pathetic, or as a nightmare of misogynist stereotyping? So too with our texts: the women we shall encounter in what follows are equallysusceptible of different interpretations.