IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 1107: Forms and Functions of Bodily Language in Spiritual Writing of the Later Middle Ages

Wednesday 13 July 2005, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:G. R. Boynton, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa
Paper 1107-aInsight on the Lollards from the 14th-Century Middle English Apocalypse Commentary
(Language: English)
Anna Louise Lewis, Department of English, University of Ottawa
Index terms: Religious Life, Theology
Paper 1107-bParadox upon Paradox: Using and Abusing Language in The Cloud of Unknowing and Related Texts
(Language: English)
Cheryl M. Taylor, School of Humanities, James Cook University, Queensland
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 1107-cLife after Taking Vows in Late Medieval Yorkshire
(Language: English)
G. R. Boynton, Department of Political Science, University of Iowa
Index terms: Genealogy and Prosopography, Local History, Religious Life, Women's Studies

Abstract -a:
This paper considers Lollard interest in the themes of ‘revelation’, the ‘hyd’ and the ‘unhyd’ and the defence of the ‘bare text’ through an analysis of the middle english translation of the 14th century prose apocalypse commentary. Links between the commentary and the Wycliffite Bible have already been explored by Paves, Fridner, Forshall and Madden and others. The evidence of the text itself for a Lollard translator, or even scribe, is ambiguous at best, however I argue that this text offers valuable insight into why the apocalypse was such a dominating concern for the Lollards.
Abstract -b:
Far from subscribing to the basic affirmation of Ciceronian rhetoric, that clarity is an attainable goal, the Cloud author repeatedly warns his disciple of the deceptiveness of “bodily” language. Innovation is consequently to be found in those aspects of the Cloud texts that minimise language use rather than in rhetorical passages. Minimising trends include the author’s decision to write in English rather than in Latin; steps taken to inspire his disciple to move from words into the wordless contemplative state; an emphasis on colloquial immediacy; a moment-by-moment responsiveness to the intuited concerns of his reader, resulting in spontaneous halts and resumptions of argument; and typically long negative explanations that progressively constrict the semantic range.
Abstract -c:
After her second husband, Richard Ratclif, died Agnes Scrope took the vow of chastity. After taking the vows: she was the only woman pardoned by Henry VII for participation in Richard III’s reign, was engaged in the next abortive insurrection, became de facto lord of Sedbury manor, arranged the marriage of her son, became a member of Corpus Christi Guild, moved to Marrick Priory where she died leaving them a copy of The Pilgrimage of the Soul. The paper traces the life after taking the vows for the 131 women who took the vow of chastity between 1312 and 1526 in northern England.