Ava of Melk (d. 1127)

views updated

Ava of Melk (d. 1127)

German religious writer. Name variations: Frau Ava. Birth date unknown; died in 1127 in Melk, Austria; married; two children.

Few facts are available on Ava of Melk, but she is the earliest female writer known to have written in German. Her high level of literacy suggests that she was born into the nobility, as does the fact that she retired to a convent but was not a nun, an option reserved for those women who could bring money or property to the convent for their support. As for her life prior to the convent, she records in one of her books that she had been married and had borne two children, retiring to the convent at Melk after her husband died. Her works, all composed at Melk, were poems and prose in German with themes from the New Testament, as well as translations of saints' lives.

Laura York , Anza, California

More From encyclopedia.com