Pilgrimage in Medieval English Literature, 700-1500

Overview

Pilgrims are so frequently encountered in the pages of Middle English literature that it is easy to take their presence, and their significance, for granted. The pilgrimage motif is all too frequently simply accepted as a 'given' of medieval spirituality, its presence noted but its meaning seldom analysed. This study therefore asks several fundamental but hitherto largely ignored questions. What exactly did pilgrimage mean to medieval writers? How well did various understandings of pilgrimage combine within ...
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Overview

Pilgrims are so frequently encountered in the pages of Middle English literature that it is easy to take their presence, and their significance, for granted. The pilgrimage motif is all too frequently simply accepted as a 'given' of medieval spirituality, its presence noted but its meaning seldom analysed. This study therefore asks several fundamental but hitherto largely ignored questions. What exactly did pilgrimage mean to medieval writers? How well did various understandings of pilgrimage combine within medieval spirituality? Who were the true pilgrims - those who travelled to saints' shrines, those who withdrew into the cloister or the anchorite's cell, or those who simply walked the path of daily obedience?In answering these questions, this wide-ranging survey of the origins and development of the pilgrim motif examines the development of Christian pilgrimage through the Bible, the writings of the Fathers, the influences of classical pagan religion and the impulses of popular devotion. It then traces the ways in which the resulting multiple meanings of pilgrimage were incorporated into medieval spirituality and literature, offering fresh perspectives on Old English poetry and prose together with Middle English texts such a the Canterbury Tales, Piers Plowman, Pearl and the Book of Margery Kempe. Dr DEE DYAS is director of the Society for the Study of Medieval Christianity and Culture.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An illuminating perspective. MYSTICS QUARTERLY Special credit for including Old English texts... a useful guide, a rich background study. SPECULUM A brilliant and richly-woven tapestry, full of insight and fresh ideas....It is not possible to do justice to the wide range and complexity of this exciting book in a brief review. JNL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
Booknews
Director of the Society for the Study of Medieval Christianity and Culture, Dyas sets out the different elements that comprise medieval pilgrimage, beginning with the origins and early development of Christian pilgrimage. She then traces how the multiple interpretations of pilgrimage were incorporated into the spirituality of the Anglo- Saxon church, and examines their influence on Old English and later medieval literature. She concludes that the life of a pilgrim encompassed interior, moral, and place pilgrimages. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780859916233
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/4/2005
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Dee Dyas is Director of the Society for the Study of Medieval Christianity and Culture, Centre of Medieval Studies, University of York, UK.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Pt. I The Origins and Early Development of Christian Pilgrimage
Introduction: The Evolution of Pilgrimage
1 The Theology and Practice of Pilgrimage in the Bible
2 Concepts of Pilgrimage in the Early Church
3 The Development of Christian Holy Places
4 The Influence of the Cult of the Saints
Conclusion: The Meanings of Pilgrimage
Pt. II The Exile and the Heavenly Home: Pilgrimage in Old English Literature
Introduction: The Importance of Pilgrimage in Old English Literature
5 From Exile to Eternal Home: the Pilgrimage Motif in Old English Poetry and Prose
6 Place Pilgrimage in the Anglo-Saxon Church
7 The Wanderer and the Seafarer Reconsidered
Pt. III 'Parfit Pilgrimage' or Merely 'Wanderyng by the Weye'? Literal and Metaphorical Pilgrimage in Middle English Literature
Introduction: Continuity and Controversy
8 'Place' Pilgrimage in Middle English Literature
9 Piers Plowman
10 The Canterbury Tales
11 Inner Journeys
12 Journeying to Jerusalem: An Overview of Literal and Metaphorical Pilgrimage in Middle English Literature
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index
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