Conversation With a Vulva

Section of fragment found (Stift Melk)

Fragment of ‘The Rose Thorn,’ a Poem About a Talking Vulva, Dated to the 1300s

by Jason Daley

The poem “Der Rosendorn” or “The Rose Thorn” is known from two manuscript copies dating to around 1500. But a new fragment of the poem discovered in the library of Melk Abbey in Austria’s Wachau Valley dates from 200 years before that, meaning that someone was writing about a talking vulva much earlier in the Middle Ages than previously believed.

Yes, reports Kate Connolly at The Guardian, the poem is actually a dialogue between a woman and her vulva, discussing which of them men are more attracted to.

The fragment is a long thin strip of parchment on which a few letters per line are visible, according to a press release from the Austria’s Academy of Sciences. When researchers tried to identify the letters, they found they corresponded with the text of “The Rose Thorn.” Previously, copies of the poem were found in the Dresden and Karlsrue Codices and were dated from around 1500.

The parchment on which the poem was written was cut up and reused as binding in a Latin theological text.

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