The Materiality of Middle English Anchoritic Devotion
The Materiality of Middle English Anchoritic Devotion
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Introduction: “The Significance of Things: Materiality, Embodiment, and Early Middle English Reclusion”, Michelle M. Sauer and Jenny C. Bledsoe
“Blessedly clothed with gems of virtue”: Clothing and Female Reclusion in The Life of Mary of Egypt and The Life of Christina Markyate”, Anna McKay
Materiality, Documentary Authority, and the Circulation of the Katherine Group, Jenny C. Bledsoe
Framing Materiality: Relic Discourse and Medieval English Anchoritism, Michelle M. Sauer
“Clean hands and a pure heart”: Relics and the Recluse’s Touch in Goscelin’s Miracles of St. Edmund, Sophie Sawicka-Sykes
A Matter of Voice: Mary, Silence, and the Fictions of Power in Ancrene Wisse 2.269–474, Joshua S. Easterling
The Anchoritic Body at Prayer in Goscelin of St. Bertin’s Liber confortatorius, Alicia Smith
PECE . Stupor in John of Gaddesden’s Rosa medicinæ, Laura Godfrey
The Material of Vernacular English Devotion: Temptation and Sweetness in Ancrene Wisse and Richard Rolle’s Form of Living, Jennifer N. Brown
Considering the Archaeological Context of an Anchoritic Cell at Ruyton, Shropshire, Victoria Yuskaitis

Michelle M. Sauer, Jenny C. Bledsoe (eds)

The Materiality of Middle English Anchoritic Devotion

Anchorites and their texts, such as Ancrene Wisse, have recently undergone a reevaluation based on material circumstances, not just theological import. The articles here address a variety of anchoritic or anchoritic-adjacent texts, encompassing guidance literature, hagiographies, miracle narratives, medical discourse, and mystic prose, and spanning in date from the eighth through the fourteenth centuries. Exploring reclusion and materiality, the collection addresses a series of overlapping themes, including the importance of touch, the limits of religious authority, and the role of the senses. Objects, metaphorical and real, embodied and spiritual, populate the pages. These categories are permeable, with flexible and porous boundaries, demonstrating the conflation of ideas, concepts, and manifestations in medieval materiality. In fact, the permeability of these categories demonstrates how materiality can reshape our approach to medieval texts. It leaves room for directions for future study, including the application of material analysis to previously unstudied objects, spaces, and literary artifacts.
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Michelle M. Sauer

Michelle M. Sauer is Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of English & Gender Studies at the University of North Dakota. A specialist in medieval reclusion, she is recipient of the Thomas J. Clifford award for research excellence, and also authored Gender in Medieval Culture.

Jenny C. Bledsoe

Jenny C. Bledsoe is an Assistant Professor of English at Northeastern State University, OK, and a specialist in medieval manuscripts.