Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Thomas J. Heffernan

Committee Members

Laura L. Howes, Roy Liuzza


The purpose of this study was to examine the political undertones of John Capgrave's The Life of Saint Katherine of Alexandria. In recent years, various scholars have regarded the Life as political propaganda for either the House of Lancaster or the House of York. I have attempted to reach my own conclusion regarding Capgrave's political beliefs by navigating some of the primary arguments purported by those scholars and adding some observations of my own.

I have considered not only the text itself, but also some of the aspects of Capgrave's life that were most likely to have influenced him: the geographical region in which he lived (Lynn, Norfolk, East Anglia), the Order of Friars Hermits of Saint Augustine to which he belonged, and the political landscape of the fifteenth century. I have also contextualized related topics, such as the figure of Saint Katherine of Alexandria and Capgrave's vacillating reputation over the centuries.

Determining Capgrave's own political beliefs will help to situate him more precisely in the tumultuous world of mid-fifteenth-century England, and will provide a foundational context from which to approach his other works.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."