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The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism (Cambridge Companions to Literature) [Paperback]

Samuel Fanous , Vincent Gillespie
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £20.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 May 2011 Cambridge Companions to Literature
The widespread view that 'mystical' activity in the Middle Ages was a rarefied enterprise of a privileged spiritual elite has led to isolation of the medieval 'mystics' into a separate, narrowly defined category. Taking the opposite view, this book shows how individual mystical experience, such as those recorded by Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, is rooted in, nourished and framed by the richly distinctive spiritual contexts of the period. Arranged by sections corresponding to historical developments, it explores the primary vernacular texts, their authors, and the contexts that formed the expression and exploration of mystical experiences in medieval England. This is an excellent, insightful introduction to medieval English mystical texts, their authors, readers and communities. Featuring a guide to further reading and a chronology, the Companion offers an accessible overview for students of literature, history and theology.


Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521618649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521618649
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'The reader is left with a clear sense of both the historical development and sheer mass of spiritual writing and thought in medieval England. Seasoned scholars will learn a good deal from this collection, but it will also make an excellent classroom text.' Choice

Book Description

This book is an excellent, insightful introduction to medieval English mystical texts, their authors, readers and communities. Featuring a guide to further reading and a chronology, the Companion offers an accessible overview for students of literature, history and theology.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful, if flawed, introduction 8 July 2014
Format:Paperback
Anyone interested in the history of Christian mysticism either knows or ought to know the the growth of mysticism in England is important, and that England contributed a great deal to the overall development of mysticism. This Cambridge Companion aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the topic.
It divides the subject into five periods, each of which is covered by two chapters, one on culture and history, and the second entitled "texts". The culture and history chapters each presents an overall picture of the developments that took place in the relevant period, and covers the significant historical figures. These chapters are all of a high standard, and pretty much everyone will find new knowledge and/or understanding.
The "texts" chapters then discuss the more important texts written in the period, with, occasionally, brief extracts from the texts. But since the overview chapters have already mentioned these authors and their importance, there is in consequence a good deal of overlap, and not a great deal of direct interraction with the texts, or not as much as one needs to get a feel for the texts. It would have been better to have our attention drawn to the texts in the overview chapters, and use the intervening chapters to provide us with a number of extracts from the most significant texts. That would, at least in my opinion, given us a direct insight into the most important texts. As it is we never get the opportunity to make our own minds up, or get contact with the writings themselves, and that is a definite loss.
So this is a useful book, but one which could have been more directly informative.
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