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ENGL 406 - Female Authors in the Middle Ages - Marjorie Kempe & Julian

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University of Calgary
ENGL 406
Jacqueline Jenkins

English - November 27, 2012 Test First part is translation – pick 2 out of 4 passages to translate - didn’t read Sir Gawain in middle English so don’t have to prepare for that second part is an essay question, not open book - but can think of the question before hand - three possible questions – but only one of three will be on the final - must talk about three texts in each question; in third one, you have to talk about Kempe - practice writing out a thesis for all the essays, rough outline of what you would write for each - introduction, couple of paragraphs on each text, typed out essay would be approximately 700-1000 words - cant bring in anything into the exam room; cant take anything from exam room Lecture - talked about only approved religious life for women was contemplative and enclosed - suggested that convent life probably encouraged mystical experience o only place where women had place for literacy and privacy - suggested that vow of celibacy that women took meant that women had longer life expectancies and that they had mystical experiences more in later years - women in middle ages were taught visual devout experiences; to imagine in very visual and physical way the way Jesus died, how Mary felt, etc. - Susan Clarke noted “the individual mystic’s world is, paradoxically, circumscribed and infinite in its possibilities, ad access to it comes about only through the verbal medium that endures, a medium that is fundamentally at odds with the transcendent, non-verbal nature of the mystics’ revelations” o Mystic – paradoxical – exceeds bounds of language, and an ascension but mystic literature tries to bound the spiritual experience and the physical experience of the body - Writers often stated that they were not as good as the greats of whatever tradition that they were writing in; part of this is humbleness and a sincere belief o But most of it is a way to deflect criticisms, its strategic - When women are writing the mystic tradition, we must be very careful o Never wrote about their experiences without a disclaimer  If its against the teachings of the church, I was forced by the pressure of God and I didn’t really want to do it o Reluctance to record the experience in text – actual written reluctance o The visions that women record come after some serious illness  Marjorie Kempe’s illness was related to childbirth o Usually wrote in their country’s native language o Text supported the teachings of the church but they live independent of the church  Julian, etc. o Writing is usually affective rath
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