Authority and the Female Body in the Writings of Julian of by Liz Herbert McAvoy

By Liz Herbert McAvoy

The writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe express an know-how of conventional and modern attitudes in the direction of ladies, particularly medieval attitudes in the direction of the feminine physique. This research examines the level to which they utilize such attitudes of their writing, and investigates the significance of the feminine physique as a method of explaining their mystical studies and the perception won from them; in either writers, the feminine physique is crucial to their writing, resulting in a feminised language wherein they in attaining authority and create an area within which they are often heard, rather within the context in their spiritual and mystical reviews. the 3 archetypal representations of girl within the heart a while, as mom, as whore and as 'wise woman', are all basically found in the writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe; in reading the ways that either writers utilize those girl different types, McAvoy establishes the level in their luck in resolving the stress among society's expectancies of them and their very own lived reports as girls and writers. LIZ HERBERT MCAVOY is Lecturer in Medieval Language and Literature, collage of Leicester.

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Extra resources for Authority and the Female Body in the Writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe (Studies in Medieval Mysticism)

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Reception and Response: An Overview It was, of course, these same hegemonic discourses, so ripe for disruption by contemporary feminist theorists, which coloured the reception of the unique manuscript of The Book of Margery Kempe following its discovery in the library of Colonel William Butler-Bowdon in 1934. Until its re-emergence, the writing of Margery Kempe had only been extant in two printed editions, forming what was ostensibly an instructional handbook for devotional purposes. 62 As a consequence, in this version the uncompromising and insistent voice of Margery Kempe is almost entirely silenced.

Xxiii, for an analysis of the scribe and his handwriting. Edmund G. Gardner, The Cell of Self-Knowledge (London, 1925), Introduction, pp. xx–xxi. See David Knowles, The English Mystic Tradition (London, 1961): ‘[Neither] in depth of perception or wisdom of spiritual doctrine, nor as a personality can she challenge comparison with Julian of Norwich’, p. 139. See also Wolfgang Riehle, Middle English Mystics (London, 1981), pp. 27– 31, 96, 102–3, 112 and 116; Robert K. Stone, Middle English Prose Style (The Hague and Paris, 1970), pp.

Qxd 4/27/04 5:04 PM Page 35 MOTHERHOOD AND MARGERY be wracked periodically by sexual temptation, even as she approaches her old age,23 an aspect of the Book which will be examined in more depth in the third chapter of this volume. 25 In this instance, however, Margery never reveals to her readers the specific nature of this sin, suggesting it is too painfully fundamental to be uncovered. Summoning her ‘gostly fadyr’ to hear what she assumes is her final confession before death, she is on the brink of confessing when the nature of the sin – or else, her articulation of it – brings a too hasty rebuke from him, confirming to Margery her inherent wickedness and fall from grace.

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