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Life in the Medieval Cloister makes extensive use of primary sources and quotations from chronicles, letters, customaries and miracle stories, and the experience of medieval monastic life is presented through the monks' own words. Medievalist Julie Kerr provides day to day account of life in the medieval monastery from the Norman conquest to the Dissolution, with a particular focus on the high Middle ages, exploring such questions as:
• What effect did the ascetic lifestyle have on the monks' physical health and mental well-being?
• How difficult was it for newcomers to adapt to the rigors of the cloister?
• Did the monks suffer from anxiety and boredom; what caused them concern and how did they seek comfort?
• What did it really mean to live the solitary life within a communal environment and how significant were issues of loneliness and isolation?
Life in the Medieval Cloister makes an important contribution to our understanding of medieval monastic life by exploring key aspects that have been either inadequately addressed or overlooked by historians, but also offers an up close and personal perspective on a fascinating, but little known, corner of history.
Preface Introduction: The origins of monasticism Chapter 1: The precinct, the people, the daily regime Chapter 2: The severity of monastic life (i)
Chapter 3: The severity of monastic life (ii)
Chapter 4: The Sound of Silence — the silence of the cloister Chapter 5: The Sound of Silence - the silence of the night Chapter 6: A Life of obedience Chapter 7: Crimes and misdemeanours Chapter 8: The Work of God — The communal life Chapter 9: The Work of God — The monk alone Epilogue