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Editor: E.A. Jones

This source book offers a comprehensive treatment of the solitary religious lives in England in the late Middle Ages. It covers both enclosed anchorites or recluses and freely-wandering hermits, and explores the relation between them. The sources selected for the volume are designed to complement better-known works connected with the solitary lives, such as the anchoritic guide Ancrene Wisse, or St Aelred of Rievaulx’s rule for his sister; or late medieval mystical authors including the hermit Richard Rolle or the anchorite Julian of Norwich. They illustrate the range of solitary lives that were possible in late medieval England, practical considerations around questions of material support, prescribed ideals of behaviour, and spiritual aspiration. It also covers the mechanisms and structures that were put in place by both civil and religious authorities to administer and regulate the vocations. Coverage extends into the Reformation period to include evidence for the fate of solitaries during the dissolutions and their aftermath. The material selected includes visual sources, such as manuscript illustrations, architectural plans and photographs of standing remains, as well as excerpts from texts. Most of the latter are translated here for the first time, and a significant proportion are taken from previously unpublished sources.

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Self-fashioning and sanctity in late medieval English mystical literature
Jessica Barr

meditations that these texts are intended to prompt. Using Rolle’s Meditations, the Showings of Julian of Norwich, and The Book of Margery Kempe, I explore the ways in which each text’s narrative persona employs individual experience to establish his or her sanctity and the strategies that the texts use to enable their audiences to follow the models of holiness that they illustrate. Where Rolle’s Meditations is a guide to affective ­contemplation and suggest a narrative perspective that is capable of being inhabited by any reader, Julian and Margery are both concerned – in

in Sanctity as literature in late medieval Britain
E.A. Jones

independent figures that people would turn to for advice, or merely to share a problem or a confidence. 15 The law of charity required that they should do their best to be good listeners. Julian of Norwich seems to have fallen into this category. She was visited towards the end of her life, in 1413, by Margery Kempe, who spent ‘many days’ telling her about her experiences, and in particular her ‘many

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
Felicity Dunworth

This fine and lovely word Mother is so sweet and so much its own that it cannot properly be used of any but Him, and of her who is his own true Mother – and ours. In essence, motherhood means love and kindness, wisdom, knowledge, goodness. 1 Julian of Norwich Motherhood and meaning Julian of Norwich, whose

in Mothers and meaning on the early modern English stage
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The poet and his times
J. J. Anderson

the end of the world is at hand’, but with ‘repent ye and accept God’s will’. Julian of Norwich, writing at about the same time as the Gawain -poet, is able to express a conviction that God is free from anger, that he will see to it that all shall always be well, and that love was his meaning. The message of God’s love is present in Pearl, Cleanness , and Patience too, but the poet shows no confidence that people can grasp it. All they can grasp, so the endings of Pearl and Patience indicate, is the more sombre message of the need to submit themselves to God

in Language and imagination in the Gawain-poems
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E.A. Jones

Cornhill, St Benet Fink, St Clement Danes, and the Dominicans’ church of Blackfriars [ 6b ]; hermits in the parishes of St Clement’s, St Lawrence Jewry and Charing Cross, and solitaries dwelling in or near the city wall at Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate [ 40 ], [ 62 ], All Hallows in the Wall [ 6a ], [ 35b ], and at the Tower of London. 16 In Norwich between Julian of Norwich at the end of the fourteenth century and

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
E.A. Jones

Julian of Norwich. Four fifteenth-century wills contain bequests to Julian (either by name or beyond reasonable doubt); two of those mention her servant: in 1404 Thomas Emund left 12d to Julian, anchorite at the church of St Julian, and 8d to Sarah who lives with her, and in 1415 John Plumpton left 40d to the anchorite at St Julian’s, 12d to her maidservant, and 12d to her former maid, Alice. 11 As we saw in Chapter I , an

in Hermits and anchorites in England, 1200–1550
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Thomas A. Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

personal (more communal) theory of the past, this makes perfect sense. And we do not advocate a position that absolutely opposes history to memory. But it is well to remember that when the mystics write of their abilities to ‘see’ the past they invariably speak in memorial terms. Julian of Norwich describes how in the eighth shewing her ‘body was fulfillid of feling and mynd [memory] of Crists passion and His deth’. 69 She explains

in Affective medievalism
Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Suzanne Conklin Akbari

intercessory role is referred to only in a negative sense, in Turpin’s condemnation, which may reflect attitudes toward mediation (whether through images or through saints) during the last decade of the fourteenth century. (Here I disagree with Hardman’s argument that the poem displays ‘a devotion to the Virgin’ (‘Sege’, p. 79).) Nicholas Watson has argued that the short text of Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Divine Love should be assigned a date after 1400 based on its reflection of contemporary attitudes toward images. See ‘The composition of Julian of Norwich’s

in Pulp fictions of medieval England