By Liz Herbert McAvoy, Mari Hughes-Edwards
Until lately, the determine of the medieval anchorite and the underlying ideological thoughts that framed her daily life have escaped specified exam, regardless of the anchorite’s value to the research of medieval tradition. This assortment brings jointly prime students within the box of gender and anchoritic reports so as to learn anchoritic enclosure from a number of various views. In so doing, Anchorites, Wombs, and Tombs deals illuminating conclusions approximately how the phenomenon of anchoritism used to be plagued by, and in flip, prompted modern notions of gender difference.
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Till lately, the determine of the medieval anchorite and the underlying ideological ideas that framed her daily lifestyles have escaped certain exam, regardless of the anchorite’s value to the learn of medieval tradition. This assortment brings jointly top students within the box of gender and anchoritic reviews so as to learn anchoritic enclosure from various varied views.
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Extra resources for Anchorites, Wombs, and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages (University of Wales - Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages)
This metaphor may occur only once or twice in the text, but is so placed that its summing-up function emerges clearly, even if there are other thematic strands in the work.
Indeed, in keeping with Bourdieu’s theory of wider social practices being inscribed upon individual bodies, what Hasenfratz identifies is the adaptation and modification of those ascetic practices of individual bodies within the idealized space of the anchorhold to accommodate the different sensibilities of the pious layman and woman living a life outside that environment. This type of movement of anchoritic 20 LIZ HERBERT McAVOY AND MARI HUGHES-EDWARDS discourse beyond the ‘tomb’ is also something on which Cate Gunn focuses in her own study, which documents the relevance of Ancrene Wisse to a wide variety of lay audiences during the later period.
The essays collected together in the second section of this volume pick up on this assertion, all directly concerning themselves with the 16 LIZ HERBERT McAVOY AND MARI HUGHES-EDWARDS explicit gendering – or conscious attempt at degendering – of the anchoritic experience, as it emerges in a selection of late-medieval texts written by or for anchorites in particular. In this context, Kristen McQuinn usefully builds upon some of the observations of Barratt in her contextual essay by examining the intensive use of gynaecentric, or perhaps more specifically, gynaecological imagery found in fourteenthcentury guides for anchorites.