Ancrene Wisse and Vernacular Spirituality in the Middle Ages

Cate Gunn

Cate Gunn

Distributed for University of Wales Press

208 pages | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2008
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780708320341 Published June 2008 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
Ancrene Wisse and Vernacular Spirituality in the Middle Ages is an introduction to the Ancrene Wisse—an important thirteenth-century guide for recluses who, for religious reasons, withdrew from secularity in order to lead an ascetic and  prayer-oriented life. This volume considers the broad religious context in which the Ancrene Wisse was written and broadens that context by addressing issues of readership, drawing comparisons between lay piety and sermons, and challenging some of the long-held views on Ancrene Wisse’s specifically female readership, articulating a place for the monastic classic in the developing literature of vernacular spirituality. 
A PDF version of this book is available for free in open access via the OAPEN Library platform, It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license and is part of the OAPEN-UK research project.
Denis Renevey
“ . . . an argument that takes into consideration the most up-to-date information on the text and its contexts.” –Denis Renevey, Chair of Medieval English, Université de Lausanne
Part I  The religious context
1    The Fourth Lateran Council
2    Eucharistic theology
3    The female religious movement: anchorites and beguines
4    Anchoritic spirituality
5    Lay piety
Part II Pastoralia and vernacular pastoral literature
6    Pastoralia
7    The rhetoric of preaching
8    Beguine sermons
9    Pastoral literature
Part III Ancrene Wisse: text and context
10  The rhetoric of Ancrene Wisse
      i.  Structure
      ii. Exempla and similitudines
11  Ancrene Wisse: asceticism and contemplation
12  Reading Ancrene Wisse as vernacular spirituality
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