Modelling holiness
Self-fashioning and sanctity in late medieval English mystical literature
in Sanctity as literature in late medieval Britain
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In late medieval mystical writings, the narrative subject self-consciously fashions him- or herself, notably in the writings of Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Richard Rolle. The authority in which the mystics’ experience is grounded is intimately connected with sanctity: the narrative personae employs individual experience to establish his or her sanctity through the employment of a range of strategies, which are meant to provide a model for the readers and enable affective responses. The three authors fashion their ‘I’ in different ways, from Rolle’s powerful visual images that reflect an open first-person speaker to Margery’s highly particularised persona that invites the audience’s participation to a limited degree only.

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