The Pious Fringe

Overview

The Pious Fringe investigates communities of readers from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries who copied, edited, or used Julian of Norwich's XVI Revelations of Divine Love. This dissertation argues that during its first 450 years, Julian's text, a record of and a commentary on a unique mystical relationship between a writer and her deity, is not located, even from its conception, at the center of ordinary religious or political discourses, but within a series of pious subcultures. This dissertation begins ...
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Overview

The Pious Fringe investigates communities of readers from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries who copied, edited, or used Julian of Norwich's XVI Revelations of Divine Love. This dissertation argues that during its first 450 years, Julian's text, a record of and a commentary on a unique mystical relationship between a writer and her deity, is not located, even from its conception, at the center of ordinary religious or political discourses, but within a series of pious subcultures. This dissertation begins by examining Julian's earliest readers in and around Carthusian monasteries who found inspiration in her text for forms of devotion within a popular extremist fringe of late medieval English religious practices. The dissertation then follows the XVI Revelations beyond the Reformation, and argues that it found eager readers in a variety of "medievalist" circles---expatriate Catholic nuns in Flanders, zealous Catholic converts and recusants in England, a reform-minded Anglican priest in an industrial Revolution-era slum, and finally vegan communalists in nineteenth-century utopian communities. Julian's medievalist devotees and detractors seized upon her text as evidence of the medieval past they sought---whether it be continuity, irrationalism, piety and acceptance, or an alternative to capitalism. The Pious Fringe is a wide-angle study of the production and consumption of a text, with an emphasis on book trades, bibliographic materials, and cultures of pious reading. It seeks traces of Julian's readers in the margins of manuscripts and early printed books and in the marketplaces of literary and religious discourse in several eras. The books and readers in this study demonstrate that meaning accumulates with use; this approach adds to existing work on medieval visionary literature by demonstrating medieval mysticism's ever-changing value when it is examined beyond the singular moment of its production and allowed to circulate in the way books do.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243666468
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/7/2011
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.69 (d)

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