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Anchoritism in the Middle Ages

Texts and Traditions

Anchoritism in the Middle Ages approaches medieval anchoritism from a variety of critical angles. Individually, the essays challenge perceived notions of the very concept of anchoritic rule and guidance, study the interaction between language and linguistic forms in anchoritic texts, address the connection between anchoritism and other forms of solitude, and explore the influence of anchoritic literature on lay devotion. As a whole, the volume, which ranges from the third century to the sixteenth and spans all of Europe, illuminates the richness and fluidity of anchoritic works and shows how anchoritism pervaded the spirituality of the Middle Ages, for the lay and religious alike.

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“Wide-ranging and fully accessible, this book reflects an exciting international scholarly collaboration, offering a broad and compelling analysis of the influence of anchoritism and its associated traditions upon the spirituality of Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages. Disrupting traditional geographical boundaries, the essays draw together with some of the more canonical writings a number of hitherto underexplored or overlooked expressions of this form of the solitary life.”

Liz Herbert McAvoy, Swansea University

“Emerging from a powerful meeting of the International Anchoritic Society in Japan in 2008, this volume explores the development of anchoritism across Europe, including in works by spiritual writers such as Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Dorothy of Mantau. Deepening our understanding of the linguistic features of the originary texts as well as the development of lay spirituality, these essays make a significant contribution to the recent efflorescence of critical attention to the history of spirituality.”

Elizabeth Robertson, University of Glasgow

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Preface
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Notes on Contributors
      Catherine Innes-Parker and Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa
I. Traditions of Anchoritic Guidance
1. Can There Be Such a Thing as an ‘Anchoritic Rule’?
      Bella Millet
2. The Role of the Anchoritic Guidance Writer: Goscelin of St Bertin
      Mari Hughes-Edwards
3. Logical Discourse Markers in Julian of Norwich
      Fumiko Yoshikawa
II. Enclosure and Sanctity in Hagiographical Tradition
4. Heresy and Heterodoxy: The Feminized Trinities of Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich
      Jane Chance
5. Hagiography and Idealism: St Dympna of Geel , an Uncanny Saint
      Juliana Dresvina
6. Bridal Mysticism and the Politics of the Anchorhold: Dorothy of Montau
      Sieglinde Hartmann
III. Anchoritic Texts and Traditions in the Lay World
7. Secularization in Ancrene Wisse, Part 1: The ‘Pater noster’, ‘Credo’ and ‘Ave’
      Chiyoko Inosaki
8. Reading and Devotional Practice: The Wooing Group Prayers of British Library, MS Cotton Nero A.xiv
      Catherine Innes-Parker
9. Carmelite Spirituality and the Laity in Late Medieval England
      Naoë Kukita Yoshikawa
10. Printing and Reading Walter Hilton in Early Tudor England
      Satoko Tokunaga


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