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Anchorites, Wombs, and Tombs

Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages

Until recently, the figure of the medieval anchorite and the underlying ideological concepts that framed her day-to-day existence have escaped detailed examination, despite the anchorite’s importance to the study of medieval culture. This collection brings together leading scholars in the field of gender and anchoritic studies in order to examine anchoritic enclosure from a variety of different perspectives. In so doing, Anchorites, Wombs, and Tombs offers illuminating conclusions about how the phenomenon of anchoritism was affected by, and in turn, influenced contemporary notions of gender difference.

256 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Medieval Studies

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“With its broad chronological range, extending from the ninth century to the fifteenth, and its extensive specialist variety, this is a collection more likely to be cherry-picked than consistently worked through, but that does not detract from the value of the individual essays.” –R. N. Swanson, University of Birmingham

R.N. Swanson

Table of Contents

Foreword by Anneke B. Mulder-Bakker
Introduction: Intersections of Time and Space in Gender and Enclosure by Liz Herbert McAvoy and Mari Hughes-Edwards
Context: Some Reflections on Wombs and Tombs and Inclusive Language by Alexandra Barratt
I. Enclosure and Discources of the Desert

Guthlac A and Guthlac B: Changing Metaphors by Santha Bhattacharji
Representations of the Anchoritic Life in Goscelin of St-Bertin’s Liber Confortatorius by Rebecca Hayward
Male and Female Cistercians and their Gendered Experiences of the Margins, the Wilderness and the Periphery by Elizabeth Freeman
The Whitefriars’ Return to Carmel by Johan Bergstöm-Allen
II. Gender and Enclosure: Late Medieval Intersections

‘Crepe into that blessed syde’ Enclosure Imagery in Aelred of Rievaulx’s de Institutione Inclusarum by Kristen McQuinn
Gladly Alone, Gladly Silent: Isolation and Exile in the Anchoritic Mystical Experience by Susannah Mary Chewning
Dionysius of Ryckel: Masculinity and Historical Memory by Ulrike Wiethaus
‘Wrapt as if to the third heaven’ Gender and Contemplation in Late Medieval Anchoritic Guidance Writing by Mari Hughes-Edwards
III. Beyond the Tomb: The Question of Audience

‘Efter hire euene’: Lay Audiences and the Variable Asceticism of Ancrene Wisse by Bob Hasenfratz
Beyond the Tomb: Ancrene Wisse and Lay Piety by Cate Gunn
The Anchoritic Elements of Holkham Misc. 41 by Catherine Innes-Parker
‘Closyd in an hows of ston’: Discources of Anchoritism and The Book of Margery Kempe by Liz Herbert McAvoy

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