Reading Medieval Anchoritism: Ideology and Spiritual Practices

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Medieval anchorites embraced the most extreme and punishing form of solitude known to the medieval world-enclosure in the same four walls for life-in order to forge a closer connection with God. As a way of understanding the lives, beliefs, and experiences of anchorites, Reading Medieval Anchoritismexplores guides to the anchorite life that were published in England throughout the Middle Ages. Mari Hughes-Edwards surveys five centuries of the guides' negotiations of four anchoritic ideals-enclosure, solitude, chastity, and orthodoxy-as well as two vital spiritual practices, asceticism and contemplative experience. The book explodes the long-standing myth of the anchorhold as solitary death-cell, revealing it instead as the site of potential intellectual change and spiritual growth.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCardiff
PublisherUniversity of Wales Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9780708325056
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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