A Companion to Ancrene Wisse

February 2002
2 line illustrations
270 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook

A Companion to Ancrene Wisse

Edited by Yoko Wada

Ancrene Wisse introduced through a variety of cultural and critical approaches which establish the originality and interest of the treatise.
The thirteenth-century Ancrene Wisse is a guide for female recluses. Addressed to three young sisters of gentle birth, it teaches what truly good anchoresses should and should not do, offering in its examples a glimpse of the real life women had in England in the middle ages. It is also important for its evidence for the continuation of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of prose writing, being produced in the West Midlands where Old English writing conventions continued to develop even after the Norman conquest. The Companion addresses the cultural and historical background, the affiliations of the versions, genre, authorship and language; the various approaches also include a feminist reading of the text. Contributors ROGER DAHOOD, RICHARD DANCE, A.S.G. EDWARDS, CATHERINE INNES-PARKER, BELLA MILLETT, CHRISTINA VON NOLCKEN, ELIZABETH ROBERTSON, ANNE SAVAGE, D.A. TROTTER, YOKO WADA, NICHOLAS WATSON.

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Table of Contents

What is Ancrene Wisse - Yoko Wada
The Genre of Ancrene Wisse - Bella Millett
The Communal Authorship of Ancrene Wisse - Anne Savage
The AB Language: the Recluse, The Gossip and the Language Historian - Richard Dance
The Anglo-French lexis of Ancrene Wisse: a re-evaluation - D A Trotter
The Middle English Manuscripts and Early Readers of Ancrene Wisse - A S G Edwards
'This Living Hand': Thirteenth-Century Female Literacy and the Female Reader of Ancrene Wisse - Elizabeth Robertson
The Legacy of Ancrene Wisse: Translations, Adaptations, Influences and Audience, with Special Attention to Women Readers - Catherine Innes-Parker
The Recluse and its Readers: Some Observations on a Lollard Interpolated Version of Ancrene Wisse - Christina von Nolcken
Ancrene Wisse, Religious Reform and the Late Middle Ages - Nicholas Watson
Ancrene Wisse and the Identities of Mary Salome - Roger Dahood


A welcome addition to Ancrene Wisse scholarship, and Millett's and Watson's essays in particular should become essential reading for all students of the text. MEDIUM AEVUM
This is a valuable collection, always stimulating and provocative. ANGLIA
This collection...amply testifies to the central place Ancrene Wisse has come to occupy in the history of English devotional literature. As a showcase for productive new approaches.this volume is most welcome. SPECULUM
A very coherent introduction and source for students interested in medieval female spirituality. [...] This is an excellent collection of strong work. MEDIAEVISTIK
A timely and important contribution to the field of anchoritic studies....The fact is that many of these essays will be important influences on Ancrene Wisse research for some time to come. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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