Kirby Lund

Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michelle M. Sauer


This thesis examines the gendering of spaces, particularly the city of New Jerusalem in the fourteenth-century Middle English dream vision Pearl. Earlier scholars have gendered this space as feminine based on the appearance of the city landscape. Instead, I examine the city in terms of both form and function to argue that New Jerusalem is a masculine space. In doing so, I hope to recognize the patriarchal control in the poem to demonstrate the masculine construction of the space, not to reinscribe patriarchy as a construct. This analysis combines the spatial theories of Henri Lefebvre and Doreen Massey with performative gender construction concepts as defined by Judith Butler. Ultimately, this gendered analysis of Pearl's city illuminates the Church's defense against the Lollard heresy of the fourteenth century on the topic of the sex of priests in the clergy, thereby demonstrating the danger of a feminine construction of the city space.