Title

Theophila

Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program

Literature

Project Advisor 1

Karen Sulivan

Project Advisor 2

Marisa Libbon

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project attempts to understand the relationship between a Medieval anchoress and Christ as a romantic relationship rather than a spiritual metaphor. Mystical marriage, the union of a human woman with Christ, son of God, is a popular formulation of the relationship a medieval anchoress experiences through her religious enclosure. Through analysis of a collection of thirteenth century Middle English texts written to instruct anchoresses on the maintenance of mystical marriage, I argue that the love between the anchoress and God is produced through action rather than a spontaneously generated emotion. The Katherine Group, or Ancrene Wisse Group, consists of a love poem to Christ in the voice of an anchoress, a guide on proper comportment as an anchoress, and three Lives of female saints who participated in mystical marriage. These texts provide a “squint” into the lives of thirteenth century anchoresses in the English West Midlands and suggest how these women practiced mystical marriage.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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