Publication details [#5393]

Grimwood, Tom. 2004. The body as a lived metaphor: Interpreting Catherine of Siena as an ethical agent. 15 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This article argues that reading the life of Catherine of Siena can fall into passive models of feminine agency that stifle the potential such a life has to offer. By investigating the way passivity is imposed by both traditional and feminist writers on her life, this article argues that new ways of conceptualizing asceticism are possible through the affirmation of Catherine of Siena’s agency as active. This involves viewing the relation of the ascetic body to its explanatory texts (both historical and contemporary) as something more than literal. Using recent interpretations of Paul, this article argues that Catherine of Siena can be read as a performative exposition of the hidden oppressiveness of the dualistic framework ascetics are often taken to be mere ‘victims’ of. (Tom Grimwood)