The Shewings of Julian of Norwich: Introduction


1 Among those endorsing the first suggestion are Fathers Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (C&W, I, 47); among those proposing the second, Riehle, p. 29, and the third, von Nolcken, p. 103. The evidence for Julian's learning is most formidably assembled in the 1978 edition of Colledge and Walsh, I, 43-59, and notes throughout, cited here as C&W. See also J. A. W. Bennett, pp. 322-34. A gathering of evidence which leans toward keeping the question open appears in Pelphrey (1982), pp. 18-28. Competence in Latin was an accepted fourteenth-century meaning of literacy.

2 Medieval England did not have the populous urban centers of the continent. London's population was about 35,000. Evidence points to Norwich's relative size and importance at the close of the Anglo-Saxon period. In 1066, the population was something over 10,000. Population fell dramatically in the fourteenth century because of the plague. Estimates given for Julian's lifetime range around 6,000. At times in the Middle Ages it was the second most populous city in England; at other times, York and Lincoln outpaced Norwich. For basic information on medieval Norwich see James Campbell, "Norwich," The Atlas of Historic Towns II, 1-25.

3 For the educational situation in Norwich, see William J. Courtenay, Schools and Scholars in Fourteenth-Century England (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 106-11.

4 For a brief overview of "cultural diglossia," the scope of interactions between orality and literacy in the Middle Ages, see Walter J. Ong, "Orality, Literacy, and Medieval Textualization," NLH 16 (1984), 1-12.

5 Psychanalyse et sciences de l'homme, 1958; rpt. Écrits: A Selection, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: W. W. Norton, and Tavistock, 1977), p. 146, p. 176, note 3.

6 The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle, ed. from B.M. Cotton MS Cleopatra by E. J. Dobson, EETS 267 (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 305. The author's concern about the inherent distractions of cows may not have been too solicitous. In 1416, the prioress of Carrow Abbey, where Julian may have been a nun, brought the prior of the cathedral and another monk to court for driving cattle off from the convent's pastures to their own grazing lands (Tanner, p. 159).

7 Tanner, p. 200, note 29. The quotation from the will of Isabel Ufford is from C&W, I, 34.

8 Warren, pp. 19-20, and Josiah Cox Russell, "The Clerical Population of Medieval England," Traditio 2 (1944), 179. But see John Hatcher, Plague, Population and the English Economy 1348-1530, Studies in Economic and Social History (London: Macmillan Press, 1977), pp. 13-15 and pp. 75-76, note 3, for a criticism of Russell's use of the 1377 poll tax returns as a basis for population estimates. Most details in this summary of anchoritic life come from Warren. For anchorites in Norwich specifically, see the lively essay by F. I. Dunn, "Hermits, Anchorites and Recluses: A Study with Reference to Medieval Norwich," in Frank Dale Sayer, ed., Julian and her Norwich: Commemorative Essays and Handbook to the Exhibition "Revelations of Divine Love," pp. 18-26.

9 The rule of St. Benedict, which in the sixth century set the pattern for medieval monastic life, envisioned a distinct calling for stricter seclusion. The rule's text opens with a classification of monks. The first, cenobites, belong to the monastery, serving under rule and abbot. "Second, there are the anchorites or hermits, who have come through the test of living in a monastery for a long time, and have passed beyond the first fervor of monastic life. . . . They have built up their strength and go from the battle line in the ranks of their brothers to the single combat of the desert. Self-reliant now, without the support of another, they are ready with God's help to grapple single-handed with the vices of body and mind" (The Rule of St. Benedict in English, ed. Timothy Fry, O.S.B., and others [Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1981], p. 20). Anchoritism as a succession to the desert hermits, in turn thought of as successors to the early martyrs as the most heroic witnesses to faith, is a common medieval theme.

10 A case for the probability that Julian was a professed nun is given by D. S. H., A Benedictine of Stanbrook, "Dame Julian of Norwich," Clergy Review 44 n.s. (1959), 707-09; for a strong dissent, see Sister Benedicta Ward, "Julian the Solitary," in Julian Reconsidered by Kenneth Leech and Sister Benedicta (Oxford: SLG Press, 1988), pp. 13-29.

11 Letter of 19 February, 1992.

12 Robert H. Flood, A Description of St. Julian's Church, Norwich, and an Account of Dame Julian's Connection with It (Norwich: Wherry Press, c. 1936), p. 44. This book opens with a report of St. Julian's structure which Flood studied before the 1942 bombing. I owe access to this out-of-print book to Professor Judah Bierman of Portland State University. The British Library gives the date 1937 for the book. The 1936 date comes from a frontispiece sketch of the church.

13 The Book of Margery Kempe, ed. Sanford B. Meech and Hope Emily Allen, EETS o.s. 212 (London: Oxford University Press, 1940), p. 42. The date of the visit is uncertain. I follow the Meech and Allen chronology, p. xlix.

14 Clay, Hermits, p. 137. See note 1167 on the possibility that Julian might have known Emma Stapleton as a child.

15 There is some confusion about when the see moved definitely from Thetford to Norwich. For the early history of the cathedral, see Barbara Dodwell, "The Foundation of Norwich Cathedral," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, 7 (1957), 1-18.

16 See H. C. Beeching and Montague R. James, "The Library of the Cathedral Church of Norwich," Norfolk Archaeology 19, Part I (1915-17), 67-116, with Addenda in Part II, 174; N. R. Ker, "Medieval Manuscripts from Norwich Cathedral Priory," Books, Collectors and Libraries: Studies in the Medieval Heritage, ed. Andrew G. Watson (London: Hambledon Presss, 1985), pp. 243-72, and N. R. Ker, ed., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books, 2nd ed. (London: Royal Historical Society, 1964), pp. 135-40. Dean Beeching's essay shows that the founder's interests in the library ranged widely and keenly. Among Bishop Herbert Losinga's surviving epistles is one asking the Abbot of Fécamp for Suetonius, who was not available in England, and another scolding a young monk for wasting time copying martyrologies, psalters, and breviaries when he should have been writing out Augustine or learning his grammar (p. 68).

17 A library list at Christ Church, Canterbury, shows that the library lent outside the community, even to lay persons; see James Westfall Thompson, "English Libraries in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries," The Medieval Library, 1939 (rpt. New York: Hafner, 1965), p. 375.

18 W. W. Williamson, "Saints on Norfolk Rood-Screens and Pulpits," Norfolk Archaeology 31 (l955-57), 299-346. Medieval Art in East Anglia 1300-1520, ed. Peter Lasko and N. J. Morgan, gives a survey and pictures many objects.

19 Edgar Powell, The Rising in East Anglia in 1381 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896), p. 32. The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) gives the rebel leader's Christian name as John. Powell discusses the confusion of names, both first and last, pp. 26-27.

20 The painting is described by A. H. R. Martindale in Medieval Art in East Anglia 1300-1520, pp. 36-37. Martindale writes that the story that the altarpiece was commissioned as a thank-offering for the suppression of the revolt is comparatively modern, but that the style is right for the late fourteenth century. The retable bears the Despenser arms.

21 The Very Rev. Alan Webster, Dean of Norwich, "Julian of Norwich," Expository Times 84 (1972-73), 229.

22 R. A. Shoaf, in "God's 'Malyse': Metaphor and Conversion in Patience," Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 11:2 (1981), 274-77, brings Julian's theme of God's courtesy, one of her "dominant tropologies," into relation with the Gawain poet's Patience.

23 For its introductions and bibliographies as well as samplings from texts, see Medieval Women's Visionary Literature, ed. Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff. This anthology gives chapter 51 of Julian's long text. Careful readers of Julian have come to different conclusions about continental influence. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, in "Some Literary Influences in the Revelations of Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-post 1416)," Leeds Studies in English 7 (1952), 18-28, notes resemblances to Meister Eckhart, but decides that points of contact with St. Catherine of Siena and St. Bridget, Julian's contemporaries, and the earlier St. Gertrude and Mechtild von Hackeborn are lacking. Latin copies of St. Bridget's work circulated in England before the saint's death in 1373, and the Middle English version of Mechtild's Liber specialis gratiae, The Booke of Gostlye Grace, and Latin abridgments just could have been in Norfolk towards the very end of Julian's life. The Middle English Mechtild (the Maulde boke) was bequeathed by Alianora Roos of York to Dame Joan Courtenay in 1438. Four Latin abridgments were in England in the later fifteenth century; there may have been others, earlier, not now extant. This information is from Theresa Halligan's introduction to The Booke (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Studies and Texts 46, 1979). Like Julian, Mechtild refers to the motherhood of God (p. 353), but differences in their works are what is most immediately striking. Halligan concludes that Julian's work "owes nothing to her predecessors overseas" (p. 59). Riehle believes that what Julian got from continental mysticism was models that gave "a decisive impetus for her literary initiative and her mystical experiences" (p. 30). A difficulty in speculating about sources, as Brant Pelphrey has nicely said, is that Julian seems to have been influenced by whatever theology one is reading oneself. He remarks, not as sources for Julian, resemblances to her ideas in Greek orthodox theology.

24 I leave aside the question of whether these textually-embedded audiences are partly or wholly fictional. It seems reasonable to assume that the authors wrote for historically existing persons but also expected further reading of their work.

25 The Influence of Richard Rolle and of Julian of Norwich on the Middle English Lyrics (The Hague: Mouton, l973).

26 MS Colwich Abbey 18, as quoted by C&W, I, l6. The quotation is from Julian's chapter 36, lines 1238-39. C&W traces some of the familial and religious connections among the houses that must be responsible for our having the long text's manuscripts (I, l0-l8). See also Placid Spearritt, "The Survival of Mediaeval Spirituality among the Exiled English Black Monks," American Benedictine Review, 25:3 (1974), 287-309. For the early history of the exile convents, see In A Great Tradition: Tribute to Dame Laurentia McLachlan by The Benedictines of Stanbrook (New York: Harper & Bros., 1956), pp. 3-45. For the life and work of Father Baker, see, in addition to the DNB, T. A. Birrell, "English Catholic Mystics in Non-Catholic Circles," The Downside Review, 94 (1976), 61-64.

27 The family of Mother Clementine Cary was closely linked with Father Cressy, who had been, before his conversion and ordination, a member of the circle of her better known brother, Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland, one subject of Ben Jonson's famous elegy, "To the Immortall Memorie, and Friendship of that Noble Paire, Sir Lucius Cary, and Sir H. Morison." For a brief note on Anne Clementine Cary, see "Cary, Anne Clementina, O.S.B.," in Joseph Gillow, A Literary and Biographical History, or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from the Breach with Rome, in 1534, to the Present Time, 5 vols. (London, 1885-1902; rpt. New York: Burt Franklin, 1961), I, 417. Cressy's edition is dedicated to their mother. Cressy's career is outlined in the DNB and briefly sketched in C&W, I, 12-13.

28 T. A. Birrell, in "English Catholic Mystics in Non-Catholic Circles," 60-81, 99-117, and 213-31, recovers several episodes in the reception of Julian as well as of other English mystics. Her book was, for instance, in the library at Fruitlands, Bronson Alcott's short-lived Utopian community (1843); Thoreau selected it as one of two hundred titles picked from the 800-volume collection for publication in a bibliographical piece in the April, 1843, Dial. The book's presence at Fruitlands is remotely due to Pierre Poiret (1646-1719), a French Protestant mystic and scholar whose ecumenical bibliography of mystical writings (Bibliotheca Mysticorum Selecta, 1708) lists Julian with the annotation, "Anglice. Theodacticae, profundae, ecstaticae" [English. Taught by God, profound, ecstatic]. Cressy's edition was known in special quarters. Julian in fact figured in some of the polemical exchanges between between Roman Catholics and Anglicans in the Restoration. Bishop Edward Stillingfleet (1635-99), a Restoration Anglican divine, counted the Shewings a score against his adversaries: "Have we any mother Juliana's among us? or do we publish to the world the Fanatick Revelations of distempered brains, as Mr. Cressy hath very lately done . . . ? We have, we thank God, other ways of employing our devout retirements, than in reading such fopperies as these are" (quoted by Birrell, p. 78, whose essay is devoted chiefly to episodes of more hospitable reception in non-Catholic circles of medieval and later Catholic mystic writings). The Anglican community of All Hallows now cares for the Julian shrine at St. Julian's parish church, and since 1980 Julian has had a feast in the Anglican calendar (May 8).

29 For Yeats and Williams, see Birrell, pp. 223-24 and 227. For Merton, see an entry in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (Garden City, N.Y.: Image Books, 1968), pp. 211-12. For Denise Levertov, see "On a Theme from

30 The History of the City and County of Norwich, vol. 2 of An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk (1739-75; Norwich, 1745), p. 546. The improbable 1443 may come from reading i as l, easily done.Julian's Chapter XX" and "The Showings: Lady Julian of Norwich, 1342-1416," in Breathing the Water (New York: New Directions, 1987), pp. 68-69 and 75-78. For Murdoch, see details of Anne's vision in Nuns and Soldiers (New York: Viking, 1981), 288-94. For Dorothy Day, see "Correspondence and Interviews," 14th Century English Mystics Newsletter 1.4 (1975), n.p.

31 N. R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries: London (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), pp. 418-19. Complete information on the manuscript appears in a translation by Fathers Walsh and Colledge, Of the Knowledge of Ourselves and of God: A Fifteenth-Century Spiritual Florilegium, pp. v-xix.

32 For an account of this manuscript, see H. W. Owen, "Another Augustine Baker Manuscript," Dr. L. Reypens-Album, ed. Albert Ampe, S.J. (Antwerp: Uitgave Van Het Ruusbroec-Genootschap, 1964), pp. 269-80. Parts of an edition of the manuscript by Dr. Owen, including the Julian section, are now in print. For the Julian extract, see H. W. Owen, "The Upholland Anthology: An Augustine Baker Manuscript," The Downside Review 107 (October l989), 274-92.

33 "Visions and Revisions: A Further Look at the Manuscripts of Julian of Norwich," Studies in Bibliography 42 (1989), 103-20.
Print Copyright Info Purchase

The Shewings of Julian of Norwich: Introduction

The Shewings of Julian of Norwich tells of an intense experience that took place within a few days and nights of May, 1373, in Norwich. The book is a first-person account of a young woman's visions. They came, she tells us, when she was thirty and a half years old, after seven days and nights of illness. At the very point of death - her curate holds a crucifix before her eyes to comfort her, and she is aware that her mother, thinking her dead, has moved to close her eyes - she received fifteen "shewings," to be confirmed the next day in a sixteenth. Health restored, she lived on into old age, almost certainly as an anchorite.

Two accounts of the showings, or revelations, as Julian also calls them, one much longer than the other, survive. She apparently wrote a first, short narrative soon after the 1373 illness, and a second, six-fold longer, twenty years later: "For twenty yeres after the tyme of the shewing, save three monethis [months], I had techyng inwardly" (lines 1865-66). Much of the short text reads as if it were immediately, spontaneously, recounted. An authorial consciousness as well as a bolder and a more elaborated theology mark the long text.

Julian's showings comprise visual images, words that emerge in her mind fully articulated, and spiritual events without sensuous representation, either visual or verbal. She carefully reports not only the content of her experiences, but also their modes of perception: "All this was shewid by thre, that is to sey, be bodily sight, and by word formyd in my understonding, and be gostly sight. But the gostly sight - I cannot ne may not shew it as hopinly ne as fully as I wolde" [All this was shown in three ways, that is to say, by bodily sight, by words formed in my mind, and by spiritual sight. But I cannot nor may not show the spiritual sight as openly nor as fully as I would wish to do] (lines 340-43; see also 2974-79). And again, "Than He, without voice and openyng of lippis [lips], formys [forms] in my soule these words: Herewith is the fend [fiend] overcome" (lines 500-01; see also 2829-30). Most of the visual showings center upon Christ's suffering during the crucifixion:
I saw His swete face as it was drye and blodeles with pale deyeng, and sithen more pale, dede, langoring, and than turnid more dede into blew, and sithen more browne blew, as the flesh turnyd more depe dede. For His passion shewid to me most propirly in His blissid face, and namly in His lippis. There I saw these four colowres, tho that were aforn freshe, redy, and likyng to my sigte. This was a swemful chonge to sene, this depe deyeng, and also the nose clange and dryed, to my sigte, and the swete body was brown and blak, al turnyd oute of faire lifely colowr of Hymselfe on to drye deyeng. For that same tyme that our Lord and blissid Savior deyid upon the Rode, it was a dry, harre wynde and wonder colde, as to my sigte. [I saw His sweet face when it was dry and bloodless in its pale dying, and after, as it became even paler, more death-like, languishing, and then it turned more deathly into blue, and after, a more brownish blue, as the flesh turned more deeply into death. For His passion showed itself to me most in His blessed face, and especially in His lips. There I saw these four colors, in those lips that before were fresh, red, and pleasant in my eyes. This was a grievous change to see, this deep dying, and also the nose shriveled and dried in my sight, and the sweet body was brown and black, completely turned from His own fair, life-like color on into this dry dying. For at the time that our Lord and blessed Saviour died upon the Cross, there was a dry, harsh wind, and it seemed to me terribly cold.] (lines 589-99)
Not all of the visual showings are of Christ. Secular images whose meanings unfold in Julian's understanding, sometimes after years of reflection, sometimes immediately, are a striking feature of the showings. An often-quoted example is the hazelnut cosmos: "Also in this He shewed a littil thing, the quantitye of an hesil nutt [hazelnut] in the palme of my hand; and it was round as a balle. I lokid there upon with eye of my understondyng and thowte, What may this be? And it was generally answered thus: It is all that is made" (lines 148-51).

Julian accepts her experience as answering previous, but forgotten, petitions to have bodily sight of the Crucifixion and to undergo in youth a severe illness in order to be "purged be [by] the mercy of God and after lyven [live] more to the worshippe of God because of that sekenesse" (lines 60-61). But between the prayers and the May of their granting, "These two desires foresaid passid fro [from] my minde" (line 70). She also had asked to receive what she calls three "wounds," true contrition, compassion, and "willfull longing to God" (line 69); this third petition "dwelled with me continually" (lines 70-71).

If The Shewings did no more than recount these events in the fashion that it does, the book would merit attention for the particularity and verve of its prose, as a vivid spiritual document, and as an early autobiographical fragment in the vernacular. But what makes it more deeply significant is that, especially in her longer version, Julian incorporates in no simply appended way but in an evolving integration the results of a long concentration upon the visions. Reflective passages support the narrative of the visions with a circling, complex, always reasoned consideration of the doctrinal and devotional implications twenty years of thinking about them have yielded. For Julian, the showings reach deeply into what it means to be a human being, which for her is to be a creature created by God living in Christendom.

Her discussions include the nature of the Trinity, God, and most especially Christ; the nature of sin; the relation of the individual soul to God, to neighbor, and to self; the roles of providence and chance; the process of prayer; the salvic roles of nature and grace, and a theology of creation. The church and the sacraments are accorded a respectful, summary, mention. Through her exploration of these topics, Julian offers to our regard her world. It is one in which pain, illness, sin, desolating loneliness, and numbing stupidity occur, but one in which, because every human creature in it is suffused with the presence of God, all things are, finally, and also in an underlying deep and present reality, "well." Her world is not an open one and surely not an open-ended one. It is not a world that is being fabricated, or improvised, or written into existence through the endeavors of successive human generations. But although a totalization, not of human making, the world is not recalcitrant or static; rather it is shot through with interchanging energies. It is, in Julian's word, a "werkyng," and also "sekir" [secure] space and time in which people - all that is within them - are "kept," saved, cherished, and loved. It is a world whose potential, bent, and reality, even unfelt and unseen, is joy. A fundamental vocabulary of plain words - werkyng, sekir, kepyng, and lyking (pleasure) - reiterates directly this sense of how things are.

The writing, while idiomatic and pungent, is marked throughout by the description of abstractions in terms of their properties, by succinct statements couched as formal definitions, by rigorous distinctions, by negative clarification, by enumerated analytical classification; by some conspicuous meticulousness in disposal of prepositions (see lines 2181-84 and 3114-15), and by a vocabularly that recalls not only the Bible (especially John and Paul), but also learned discourse. Some examples to which she repeatedly has recourse include the can-may-will division of possibility, action and suffering as binary categories, the contrast of creator to creature, and the use of substance in its technical, philosophical sense. This intellectuality has led most scholars to conclude that the writer could not have been illiterate and that she probably knew Latin, at the least well enough to read the Latin Bible, a conclusion that would be unexceptional except that it contradicts her flat assertion that the revelation came to a "simple creature that cowde [knew] no letter" (line 41).

A number of explanations of how this is to be interpreted have been offered: It may be an instance of captatio benevolentiae, a modesty topos, that could be accepted at face value only by those unfamiliar with the convention of such disclaimers; it may mean that, like the German mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg whose similar profession indicated ignorance of Latin but not of German, Julian was literate in the vernacular only; or, it may mean that the visions did come to her when she was unlettered, but that before composing the longer account she became literate.1

To be taken into account is Julian's residence in a town, large by medieval standards in England, with a number of institutions of learning.2 It claimed a noted grammar school. At the great cathedral, the priory gave instruction both to monks and to young men destined for the diocesan clergy. Late fourteenth-century Norfolk still drew scholars from the continent. Julian's contemporary, Peter of Candia, the scholar who became the controversial Pope Alexander V, traveled to England to study at Norwich as well as at Oxford. The four mendicant orders maintained Norwich convents which prepared candidates in philosophy and theology before they went on to Cambridge or Oxford. Scholars from the orders, most of whom lived within a mile or two of one another, held disputations, although these probably were not open to women auditors.3 In such a place, the quality of the sermons must have been enviable, and an eager listener might well absorb both advanced ideas and the formulations that would most economically express them. As a late twentieth-century person might speak of the mirror stage in child development without reading Piaget, a fourteenth-century person lacking formal education might grasp theological issues and terms.

The fact is that it is very difficult to judge confidently the degree to which a listener might become learned in a late medieval milieu.4 Even the twentieth-century mix of oral and written, authorial and scribal, may become complex. Consider only Ferdinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics or a Paris Review interview. Lacan writes that his subsequently published lecture, "The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud," is inserted "at a point somewhere between writing [l'écrit] and speech - it will be half-way between the two." Lacan then footnotes, "The lecture took place on 9 May, 1957, in the Amphithéâtre Descartes of the Sorbonne, and the discussion was continued afterwards over drinks."5 Evidently he considers the final writing to owe something to this pendant, surely oral, occasion. Weighty and plausible, the evidence that Julian was literate in both Latin and English is not conclusive.

Interest centers upon the statement not only for its bearings upon the issue of the late medieval interplay of orality and literacy but also because this is one of the rare facts Julian offers about herself that does not issue directly from the few hours of the visions, their occasion and context. We know little or nothing of her life with certainty. Even the identification of the book's author with the anchoress who in the late fourteenth century occupied a cell at St. Julian's church in Norwich, though secure from reasonable challenge, depends not upon internal evidence but upon a manuscript rubric. Of a neighboring, younger religious seeker, Margery Kempe of Lynn, we know family, Christian and married names, status of father and husband, number of children, business ventures, travel itineraries, and the gist of encounters with many persons, clerical and lay, including Julian herself (see Appendix B). Saint Augustine addresses his Confessions (a book Julian may have known - see note to line 918-19), to God, but exposes to incidental audiences a David Copperfieldian abundance: names of mother, father, son, and various friends and associates; education and reading; marriage negotiations, and professional conditions in two cities. Of the English solitary of the generation preceding Julian, Richard Rolle, we have many anecdotes, including how he dropped out of Oxford at the age of eighteen and embarked on his hermit's career in a garment fashioned from his father's rainhood and two tunics of his sister, prompting her to cry out, "My brother is mad!"

But Julian models no emblematic anecdote and offers few facts. Least of all self-dramatizing, neither is she forthcoming. Some of the sparse externals - that her mother was present at her bedside and that a child accompanied the priest on his sick call - as well as her defiant sense of her own daring in presuming as a woman to speak up with authority (see Appendix A) are even pared away in the later version of the Shewings. A curate, anonymous others in her sick room, and "a certeyn creature that I lovid" (line 1167) survive into the revision, the last to make the point that one ought to be interested in what is general, not in who is particular. A charmingly illuminated cat in the modern Julian of Norwich Cathedral window is extra-textual, no doubt prompted by the thirteenth-century Ancrene Riwle whose author warned his recluses against owning a cow as a too cumbrous and worldly responsibility, but did allow a cat: "Ge mine leoue sustrene ne schule ye habben nan beast bute cat ane." [You, my dear sisters, should have no beast, except for one cat.]6

Nonetheless, the book projects a strong sense of a particular, intensely-lived life, of a distinctive personality coupling a benign, open temperament with a discriminating mind, energetic, ardent and focused, working hard. This working, and reworking, strains the outline of the showings, as becomes especially clear when comparing short and long versions. The visionary events which continued "shewing be process ful faire and sekirly ich folowand other" [showing by a fair and certain progression each following the other] (lines 2741-42) are sliced into to form envelopes accommodating the probing of their significance. B. A. Windeatt has described the long version's "structure of exploration and enquiry" as resulting from "the pressure of meditation" that pushes the narrative framework "outwards from within" (Art, pp. 57, 60).

This pressure makes it seem that the frequent enumerations are not so much sets of conclusions as a way of securing a hold upon exigent issues. "It nedyth me to wetyn it" [I needed to know], Julian will write (line 1788; emphasis mine). Explanation and exploration resolve in sudden concisions: "And Hymselfe werkith it; then it is" (lines 2142-43); "He is here alone with us all; that is to sey, only for us, He is here" (lines 3283-84); "For in the beholding of God we fall not; in the beholding of selfe we stond not; and both these ben soth" [are true] (lines 3335-36); "I have seid as I saw as trewly as I can" (line 2976). She quite deliberately thinks of her later version not only as a book but also as a project, a process, drawing to conclusion with an enigmatic proviso: "This booke is begunne be Gods gift and His grace, but it is not yet performid, as to my syte" (lines 3391-92). The reader may find the want of biographical fact and domestic context well compensated by the close view she offers of her mind in the intimacies of its acts of apprehension. Still, a vita can be posited. Julian's dating of the visions, research on the anchoritic life in England and upon the East Anglia of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, and a few documents - wills, the visit of Margery Kempe, and a rubric in the short version's manuscript - allow educated guesses.

Putting together the May, 1373, date for the visions and Julian's statement that she was then thirty and a half, we get a birthdate of late 1342. The first will to mention her as an anchoress appears in a testament dated 1394. Surely enclosed then, it is entirely likely that she was an anchoress much earlier. It has been assumed that the company at her bedside means that she was not a recluse at the time of the visions, but the visitors' presence could indicate that a solitary's life might be less rigid than enclosure ceremonies suggest or that the regime was relaxed in emergencies. The manuscript heading of the shorter version states that she was still living in 1413:
There es a visioun schewed be the goodenes of god to a devoute womann, and hir Name es Julyan that is recluse atte Norwyche and yitt ys onn lyfe. Anno d(omi)ni mill(esi)mo CCCCxiij; In the whilke visyoun er fulle many comfortabylle wordes and gretly styrrande to alle thaye that desyres to be crystes looverse. [Here is a vision shown by the goodness of God to a devout woman, and her name is Julian, who is a recluse a Norwich and still is alive, the year of our Lord 1413; in which vision are many comforting words, greatly moving to all those who desire to be lovers of Christ.] (BL MS Additional 37790, fol. 97r.)
The last bequest naming Julian comes in 1416 from Isabel Ufford, countess of Suffolk, included among numerous gifts to religious and religious houses: "Item jeo devyse a Julian recluz a Norwich 20s" [Item: I bequeath to Julian, recluse at Norwich, twenty shillings]. However, bequests to an unnamed anchoress at St. Julian's continued until 1429, so it is possible that the writer lived until that date.7

Although fourteenth-century England offered a diversity of religious callings, options for women were narrow, and the anchoritic way of life was the only one that more women than men chose. It was officially recognized from the twelfth century; then a paper trail of enclosure rituals, ecclesiastical regulations, documents of support, and a virtual genre of advice-to-solitaries literature begins. But the anchoritic choice was never really common. In anchoritism's most flourishing century, the fourteenth, there were 214 anchorites in England to about 35,000 other religious, secular and regular.8 To be an anchorite was to choose a more severe and idiosyncratic, but also a more initially accessible, path than that of communal life in orders where dowries were required. The solitary calling drew lay people, the poor as well as the aristocratic; priests, canons, and friars who moved into seclusion from roles of social service; and monks and nuns who stepped beyond the regular community pattern into a more deeply contemplative solitary life.9

Most male anchorites were clerics, but since no record was taken of the previous status of nuns, records do not show how many women recluses were professed religious. Although Margery Kempe gives Julian the title of "dame," customary for nuns, none of the wills naming her identifies her in that way. Nonetheless, it has been supposed that Julian may have been a nun. If so, her most likely community would have been Benedictine. A Benedictine convent, Carrow Abbey, stands about a mile from St. Julian's parish church and held its advowson (i.e., the right to nominate its rector). Certainly Carrow Abbey later supported other anchorites, and, whether or not Julian was a nun there, it is among Benedictine communities of nuns that the Shewings reappeared in the seventeeth century. Whether she was indeed a nun, however, remains disputed.10

Unlike hermits, solitaries who moved about, most anchorites vowed stability. After enclosure they remained, normally for life, in the same restricted quarters, most attached to a church or convent. Whether Julian made a formal vow of seclusion cannot be said; Norwich diocesan registers do not have complete records of formal commitments (Tanner, p. 61). Julian very likely took her name from St. Julian's, the Norwich parish where a church had existed since Saxon times and which had an anchorhold. The prescribed size for a solitary's cell was twelve square feet. In actuality, sizes varied from place to place, some modestly spacious, others severely cramped. Some sites provided for more than one recluse, such as that for the three sisters for whom the Ancrene Riwle was written. An anchorhold found at Compton in Surrey allowed barely room to turn around, measuring six feet, eight inches, by four feet, four inches, plus a loft (Warren, p. 32). According to Canon Michael McLean, former rector of St. Julian's, the dimensions of Julian's cell, probably built against the church's south side, were almost certainly smaller than the site that visitors see in the present building, reconstructed after the bombing of June 27, 1942. Though most opinion accepts the present site, Canon McLean observes that at least two ancient maps show a cell in different positions alongside the churchyard wall. It had been assumed that Julian's cell was destroyed at the time of the dissolution in 1539, but it is now believed that the structure, which may have been of timber on stone foundations, simply fell into ruins after the Reformation.11

Regulations for reclusoria prescribed arrangments beyond size of the quarters. Cells were to have three windows, the first opening to the church to allow the recluse to hear Mass, receive the Sacrament, and speak with a confessor; the second for delivery of necessities; the third, for light, was to be covered so as to be translucent, but not distracting. Julian's window into the church did not allow much view of the altar; the tabernacle housing the Blessed Sacrament, which then hung in front of the altar rather than being recessed upon it, was, however, fully visible.12 A priest-recluse might have an altar in his cell. Gardens were allowed, certainly a possibility at St. Julian's.

Enclosure rituals for the neophyte recluse included a mass with prayers for the dead; the anchorite was henceforth to be one dead to the world. But in fact enclosure could not preclude ties between anchorites and their communities, ties both practical and spiritual. Bishops were responsible to see to it that the life was not assumed carelessly and that the anchorite would have lifetime support. Servants, and no doubt volunteers, fetched and carried. The Ancrene Riwle recommends that in order to have time for prayer, anchoresses keep maidservants (p. 311). Julian apparently had two servants, for John Plumpton, a Norwich citizen, in 1415 willed forty pence to Julian herself and twelve pence each to her serving maid and to Alice, her former maid (C&W, I, 33-34). Anchorites counseled visitors. Margery Kempe sometime in 1415 sought and received the counsel of "an ankres in the same cyte whych hyte Dame Ielyan" [an anchoress in the same city (i.e., Norwich) who is called Dame Julian].13 Priests who took up seclusion might continue duty as confessors; Margery Kempe counted an anchorite of Lynn as her "principal gostly fadyr" (pp. 43-44). Letters of advice warn anchorites that they are not to gossip or get a name for themselves as school mistresses, though they might perhaps oversee a servant's instruction of children. On the other hand, the anchorite might be the one requiring instruction. When Emma Stapleton, daughter of Sir Miles Stapleton, became an anchoress at Norwich's Carmelite friary in 1421, five persons, including the prior and sub-prior, were appointed advisers.14 Probably most recluses passed some time in secondary occupations; needlework was commended to women; men might be copyists or priests (Warren, p. 42). We know that Julian, like Rolle and like another contemporary recluse, the Monk of Farne, with or without scribal help, wrote.

Still, the center and reason for being of reclusive life was contemplative prayer. Ann K. Warren's fact-filled study of anchorites and their patrons in medieval England reports the bequests and grants from middle class, noble, and royal patrons establishing that lay people and religious alike valued these contemplatives whose lives so differed from their own. She writes of the intangible, but central communal role of anchorites:
Encouraged, applauded, and supported by society and church, they undertook their solitary life by encamping in the heart of the community. Enclosed and yet exposed, hidden and yet visible, shadows behind the curtains of their access windows, medieval English anchorites were daily reminders of the proper focus of Christian existence. Martyr, viator, penitent, ascetic, mystic, miles Christi - the recluse was all of these. (p. 7)
Julian had no immediate, local model for her calling. Although more hermits and anchorites lived in Norwich between the last third of the fourteenth century and the Reformation (which effectively put a pause, for some time, to anchoritism as a recognized religious life) than in any other town in England, none is recorded there between 1312-13, long before her birth, when local records mention two, and her emergence in 1373. During her lifetime, the number of anchorites within the city increased to some ten (Tanner, p. 58).

Julian's Norwich was a vigorous place. Its solitaries formed one element of a mixed, thriving religious life to which both the older church institutions and the new popular avenues of devotion contributed. Norwich had been a cathedral city at least since 1103, its priory and church planned on a scale to match the older cathedrals - a priory for sixty Benedictine monks, a fourteen-bay nave for the church.15 The scholarly founding bishop, Herbert Losinga, who was responsble for the new cathedral's ambitious scale, also immediately set about the collection of a library, and when fire almost entirely destroyed that collection during a conflict with citizens in 1272, the cathedral set about at once with the labor of copying to replace standard works and profited, too, from the bequests of its own monks and former monks. At the time of dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII the collection probably numbered 1,350 books.16 Nor was the cathedral library Norwich's only one. The Austin friars, whose house was directly across from St. Julian's parish church, had a library from which Julian herself conceivably could have borrowed. The library was considerable, we may infer, because a fifteenth-century Norwich donor (a lay woman) provided it with a new building. An Augustinian regulation exists stipulating that books were not to be taken from the library unless there were duplicates, which implies that if there were, they might be borrowed (C&W, I, 39-40).17

The fire of 1272 shows that Norwich townspeople did not always feel themselves at one with their cathedral, but possession of the see stimulated and focused cultural, as well as religious, life. It was chiefly the cathedral that patronized the artists who shaped the great period of East Anglian art. This was coming to its end at the time of Julian's birth, but as she was growing up, that art, as well as the masonry of castle, cathedral, and city wall and the wind-swept, sea-near marshlands, pastures, and rivers, made up what she would have seen about her. How rich the art could be can be estimated from what remains of such luxurious manuscripts as the Ormesby and Gorleston psalters. Embroidery, metal work, painting, sculpture, illumination, stained glass - all contributed to the splendor of the cathedral. Norfolk, as the late St. Omer psalter demonstrates, also had lay patrons. Artists from the continent worked throughout the region, supplementing a high level of local craftsmanship. Parish churches too were impressively adorned with illuminated glass, altar pieces and screens, carved fonts, and statues. The large number of surviving wooden rood screens carved with figures of saints, which in Julian's time would still be brightly painted, indicates that they were to be seen in nearly every parish church.18

Norman P. Tanner's study documents the vitality of the varied constituents of this religious world in later medieval Norwich. They included not only the cathedral and its priory, but also some fifty parish churches, more per capita than for any other English town - four were within a half mile of Julian's anchorhold - five places of worship attached to the cathedral priory, and eighteen religious houses or hospitals within or just without the city walls as well as anchorholds and the individual chapels of some private citizens. Craft guilds and religious confraternities increasingly sponsored religious activities, including plays. Norwich was the only place in England where communities resembling the continental beguinages developed, somewhat after Julian's lifetime (Tanner, pp. 64-66).

The medieval city, enclosed by the river Wensum and its three-mile city wall constructed between 1297 and 1377, centered about the castle and the cathedral close, but as a weaving, leather, and trading center, Norwich also looked to the sea and cultivated flourishing contacts with the Rhineland. It shared fully in the desperately eventful political life and human damage of the last half of the fourteenth century. The plague came upon the town three times, the first a drastic sweep in 1349, when Julian would have been six, and again in 1361 and 1369. When Julian was thirty-eight, the Peasant Uprising of 138l spread throughout East Anglia. One episode involved her putative convent, Carrow Abbey. Rioters advanced upon it and, threatening violence, obtained from the prioress deeds and court rolls which they afterwards burnt at Norwich in the presence of the rebel leader, Geoffrey Litster (or Lister), who had gained the city.19 The astonishing mix of secular and religious, ecclesiastical and martial, brutal and refined is instantiated vividly in the account of how the rebels were suppressed. The bishop, Henry Despenser, led forces opposing the rebels. When Litster was defeated the bishop personally shrove him and then presided at the execution - hanging, drawing, and quartering. The bishop expressed gratitude for the victory, according to a plausible tradition, not only with a mass but also with the donation to the cathedral of a wonderful retable with five panels, centered upon a poignant crucifixion scene.20 The date of its donation, 1381, makes it impossible that the scene could have affected Julian's vision of the crucifixion in 1373 (and her description in no way resembles the retable panel), but if she were not yet enclosed when the gift was made, she might have seen it. Julian's cell was three quarters of a mile from the cathedral; before her death, she had a closer neighbor, the execution place for Lollards, whose repression included, for the first time under Henry IV, burning. Allusions to politics of the times - to what a twentieth century Norwich cathedral dean has characterized a "violent, insecure, ambitious and lively society" - sometimes have been read into Julian's work, but, if there, they are indirect.21 She indicates her social bond in two more general ways, ways that issue directly from her inner life: most expansively, by her understanding and reporting of her visions as being intended for all her fellow Christians; second, by her decorous acceptance of the church's teachings, even when her visions refuse corroboration of some doctrine.

Broadening the context beyond Norwich, we may see Julian as a part of that epoch when the vernacular re-emerged as a literary language. Chaucer, Gower, Langland, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing and Walter Hilton were all writing. The Gawain poet, with whom Julian shares an insistent motif of courtesy, was her earlier contemporary.22 Her life overlaps with that of Richard Rolle of Hampole (1300-1349) at one end and with Margery Kempe (born c. 1373) at the other. It has been supposed that she may have read, or even used as a model of rhetoric, Chaucer's translation of Boethius (C&W, I, 45-47) or have read or been read by the spiritual writers who were her contemporaries. But with the exception of Margery Kempe, certain evidence that Julian knew of any of them or their works, or they anything of her or hers, is lacking. Margery Kempe apparently knew Julian only as a spiritual counselor, not an author, significant because the younger woman does record names of spiritual writers whose works were read to her.

We may see Julian in another context, as the late successor of the Rhineland mystics of a century and a half before, many of them women, whose writings, sometimes in a vernacular, constituted a literary phenomenon as well as a contribution to spiritual renewal in their own times. Largely because of feminist scholars' interest, some selections of medieval women's religious writing have appeared in English translations, but few of their manuscripts are known to have been in England in time for Julian to have profited from them directly.23

If, apart from the Bible, we do not know exactly what Julian read, neither do we know who in her own time or the next generations read her. Some Middle English spiritual texts directly address an immediate audience. Aelred wrote a guide to reclusive life for his own sister. The Ancrene Riwle, written for three enclosed sisters of the same family, quickly spread beyond them to others. The Cloud of Unknowing author writes for a young monk undertaking a strict solitary life. Hilton wrote for an anchoress, his "ghostly sister in Jesus Christ," and forty-seven extant manuscripts of the Scale of Perfection show how generally others found that treatise useful.24 Julian did not do this, did not direct her Shewings to a special reader or readers. She took the showings as given generally for all, and she wrote to all, to her "even Cristene." But, in the short run, the very lack of evidence indicates that she reached very few. In a study of Julian's influence and that of Richard Rolle on the Middle English lyric, Mary A. Knowlton concludes, in effect, that she had none.25 Lateral contamination indicates that both short and long texts were in circulation by 1413 when Julian, if we trust the short text's introduction, "yitt ys onn lyfe," but between this date and the mid-seventeenth century, there is silence.

Julian's first readers about whom we have any definite information appear in the mid-seventeenth century in two small exile houses of English Benedictine nuns, one at Cambrai, in Northern France, the other its daughter house in Paris. There women of recusant families followed their vocations until the French Revolution drove them back to re-establish in England. (Stanbrook Abbey descends from Cambrai; St. Mary's Abbey at Colwich, Stafford, from Paris.) There, they pursued lives of prayer and study; some wrote; and they copied, voluminously, spiritual writings. Three names from these communities can be directly linked to Julian's work. The first is that of Margaret Gascoigne (d. 1637), a Cambrai author who quoted Julian in her own writing; the second, that of Barbara Constable, a productive scribe who made her profession at Cambrai in 1640, and wrote a selection from Julian appearing in an anthology of religious writings and translations of Father David Augustine Baker, spiritual director at Cambrai from 1624 to 1633; and, more tentatively, the third, that of Anne Clementine Cary (1615-71), founder of the Paris convent, who may have been the scribe of one of the complete manuscripts, that one edited here. The first scrap of Julian's long text that we have out of these houses is Margaret Gascoigne's quotation: "Thou hast saide, O Lorde, to a deere childe of thine, Lette me alone my deare worthy childe, intende to me, I am inough to thee, reioice in thy Sauiour and Saluation (this was spoken to Iulian the Ankress of norw[ich], as appeareth by the booke of her reuelations)." [You have said, Oh Lord, to a dear child of yours, Let me alone, my precious child and listen to me; I am enough for you. Rejoice in your Savior and salvation (this was spoken to Julian, the anchoress of Norwich, as appears from the book of her revelations.)]26

Father Baker translated several late medieval spiritual writers, both continental and English, for the benefit of the convent. He had worked at the library of Sir Robert Cotton, the antiquarian whose library harbored the unique copies of Beowulf and the Gawain poet, and from France appealed to him for help for his charges: "Their lives being contemplative the comon bookes of ye worlde are not for their purpose, and litle or nothing is in thes daies printed in English that is proper for them. There were manie English bookes in olde time whereof thoughe they have some, yet they want manie. And thereuppon I am in their behallfe become an humble suitor vnto you, to bestowe on them such bookes as you please, either manuscript or printed being in English, conteining contemplation Saints lives or other devotions. Hampooles [i.e., Richard Rolle's] workes are proper for them. I wishe I had Hilltons Scala perfectionis in latein; it woulde helpe the vnderstanding of the English; and some of them vnderstande latein" (Spearritt, pp. 291-92). Possibly this appeal is responsible for our having Julian's long version; and it is also possible that her manuscripts were among the "some" books that the nuns had already among them.

The first printed text of Julian, the 1670 edition by Father Hugh (Serenus) Cressy, is also associated with these exile houses. He was briefly chaplain at Paris (1651-52), and his text is taken from one of the manuscripts most probably produced either there or at Cambrai.27 Library catalogues of the continental foundations refer to at least one other Julian manuscript that cannot be any of the extant manuscripts containing the long text. Though some detail is tantalizingly missing, the association of the long text's preservation with Cambrai and Paris seems certain. This cannot be said of the short text, which came to light in 1909, although it also for a time was in the possession of a recusant family with connections at Cambrai and Paris (C&W, I, 10-12).

The 1670 Cressy edition broke the obscurity which had surrounded Julian, but The Shewings has not been at all well known until this century.28 Cressy was reprinted in 1843, in 1864, and again in 1902. New work from manuscripts came in 1877 with Henry Collins's modernization of the British Library's Sloane 2499 (S1), that long text which possibly is in the hand of Anne Clementine Cary. However, it was Grace Warrack's 1901 version of S1, with its sympathetic, informed introduction, which introduced most early twentieth-century readers to Julian. Dean W. R. Inge's Studies of English Mystics of 1906 (where, among others, a young T. S. Eliot read of her; see note to chapter 27), based upon a lecture series of 1905, spread her name, and Evelyn Underhill's works on mysticism and her now often-quoted characterization of Julian as the "first English woman of letters" in the Cambridge Medieval History (1932; VII, 807) brought Julian to the attention of readers interested in either religion or literature or, most particularly, their combination. When the short manuscript surfaced a modernization by Dundas Harford came out almost immediately (1911). Nonetheless, not until the seventies have editions of the manuscripts, rather than versions or modernizations, been published. Marion Glasscoe's edition of S1 appeared in 1976, and Frances Beer's text of the short version in 1978. That was the year, too, of the Colledge and Walsh two-volume edition including both texts, a comprehensive introduction, and a critical apparatus that provides a basis for other students of Julian.

The successive medieval volumes in the Oxford History of English Literature plot the acceleration of interest in Julian. When E. K. Chambers wrote English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, published in 1945, he did not once refer to her; H. S. Bennett's Chaucer and the Fifteenth Century, published in 1947, gives her one reference in passing. But J. A. W. Bennett's Middle English Literature, completed by Douglas Gray, published in 1986, gives Julian a dozen dense pages. To be sure, from the turn of the century forward, the evidence is that Julian's audience of few was in one way or another extremely fit: William Butler Yeats, Charles Williams, Aldous Huxley, T. S. Eliot, Thomas Merton, Denise Levertov, Iris Murdoch, and Dorothy Day are on record among that audience.29 Even before the appearance of editions of the manuscripts, the dedication of the reconstructed parish church of St. Julian in 1953 and the 1973 sixth centenary of the showings occasioned celebratory and scholarly publication. Fittingly, Julian's contemporary audience includes those who use her book as she probably had assumed it might be used; towards the close of the eighties, 150 Julian groups in Great Britain were meeting for prayer and spiritual companionship (Jantzen, p. 12).

Some early commentary on Julian raised the question of her visionary experience's validity, although without the confident vigor of Bishop Stillingfleet (see below, note 28). The topic was usually pursued by a consideration of how her account corresponds to paradigms established either in psychology or in mysticism's secondary literature. This discussion has dwindled perhaps because although the importance of the question is undeniable, answering it is impossible. The question of her orthodoxy has been taken up, usually, but not always, resolved in agreement with Julian's own statements of her adherence to church teaching. Source study for particular motifs, ideas, and locutions of The Shewings has been another topic of Julian criticism. A rewarding recent line of inquiry focuses on Julian's religious thought pursued not only through its sources but also as a subject in itself. The once largely overlooked development in the long text of the theme of Christ as mother is coming to be seen in Julian not as ornamental, but as a doctrinal exploration of range and force. Interest in mysticism in general and feminist scholars' work to recover women's voices from earlier times have been a stimulus. Literary study that goes beyond praise and quotation has advanced in the work of Stone, Windeatt, Glasscoe's 1983 essay, and the assembling of rhetorical figures and notes upon them in the Colledge and Walsh 1978 edition. Many essays not primarily on style offer valuable remarks about it. More work is in progress on prose style, but most has not reached publication stage. Detail of conclusions will certainly be affected by which manuscript authors choose for close study.

The Manuscripts

The short version exists in one manuscript, the mid-fifteenth century Amherst manuscript, now BL Additional 37790 (A). A handsome vellum book, its selections from late medieval religious writers include Richard Rolle and translations from John Ruysbroek, Henry Suso, and St. Bridget as well as the shorter Shewings. The idea that Julian's short text may be, like other items in the volume, an abstract from longer work has never been seriously pursued, and there is no constraining reason to believe that it is (Beer, p. 10, and pp. 22-23). Francis Blomefield, the eighteenth-century historian of Norfolk, had known of this manuscript as his account of St. Julian's parish shows: "In 1393, Lady Julian was Ankeress here, was a strict Recluse, and had 2 Servants to attend her in her old Age, Ao [anno] 1443. This Woman in those Days, was esteemed, one of the greatest Holyness. The Rev. Mr. Francis Peck, Author of the Antiquities of Stanford, had an old Vellum Mss. 36 4to [quarto] Pages of which, contain'd an Account of the Visions &c. of this Woman, which begins thus"; Blomefield then goes on to quote with fair accuracy the heading of the short text (given above).30 A Leicestershire antiquarian and rector at Godeby by Melton, the Rev. Mr. Peck died in 1743; his books were sold at auction in 1758. The manuscript vanished from record, to appear in Sotheby's 1910 sale of the Amherst library. There, the British Museum acquired it. The manuscript bears the bookplate of Lord Amherst and a number of names are inscribed upon it, none permitting more than guesses about provenance. The hand is anglicana formata with textura used for emphasis. The dialect is a mixture, and northern, not the Norfolk forms one might expect, are predominant (C&W, I, 28-32, and Beer, pp. 14-20).

Of the long version, three complete manuscripts and two manuscripts with excerpts exist. No manuscript of the complete long text is earlier than the seventeeth century, the two most important of about 1650. In addition, there is the 1670 Cressy printed edition, closely related to, almost certainly directly taken from, one of these manuscripts, Paris, BN MS fonds anglais 40 (P).

This manuscript is a small, beautiful paper book of 175 leaves (fol. 23 is repeated), written in a legible calligraphic hand with italic and bastard elements. Fathers Colledge and Walsh describe the hand as "certainly of the seventeenth century, probably c. 1650," engaged in a "sedulous but unskilled and unconvincing imitation . . . of a hand of c. 1500" (C&W, I, 7). Still the hand is clear and pleasing, and along with blue initials at chapter openings, red paraphs and running titles, and occasional phrasal rubrication, it adds to the attractiveness, as well as the legibility, of the book. A later hand has written above the opening, "icy commence le premier chapitre." The manuscript has been skillfully mended; in 1946, according to a note on the flyleaf. The book contains only Julian's long text. Previous editors regard it as the earliest of the long manuscripts.

Like P, BL MS Sloane 2499 (S1) contains only Julian's long text. S1 is a large, paper manuscript of 57 leaves, possibly cropped, now 229 by 369 mm. The hand is an efficient, sometimes sprawling, sometimes compressed, cursive hand of c. 1650. According to Fathers Colledge and Walsh the hand resembles, but cannot be certainly said to be, the hand of Anne Clementine Cary. Marginal annotation, mostly glosses on words obsolete by the seventeenth century, and nota bene initials show the manuscript to have had considerable use. Ink has soaked through so as to make for some loss of legibility, and lamination has not halted deterioration. Fortunately, the Paris and Sloane manuscripts correspond sufficiently so that in almost all cases each can supply readings for the other. The third manuscript, BL MS Sloane 3705 (S2), is clearly a copy, in a fine eighteenth-century hand, of S1, a copy with many modernized spellings, some glossing and other annotation, usually repetition of key phrases, and many nota bene signs. Both S1 and S2 have chapter headings giving brief summaries of the forthcoming chapter; P lacks this feature, which is probably a scribal or editorial contribution. (Shewings has been chosen for this edition's title because it is Julian's more frequent term in the body of the text; revelations occurs more frequently only in the chapter headings.) The earlier manuscripts, P and S1, differ sufficiently to make it unlikely their common ancestor is immediate.

The two manuscripts containing selections of Julian have their own interest, but do not help to determine relationships among texts or to establish readings. Westminster Library Cathedral Treasury 4 (W), which came to light in 1955, is a short book of 67 leaves made up of excerpts from Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection, commentaries on two psalms, variously ascribed, usually to Hilton, and excerpts from Julian. Inclusion of the passage on the motherhood of Christ establishes that selections are from the long text. In some respects closer to the Sloane texts than to P, W includes a brief passage which does not appear in them, but does in P. It may be from a common ancestor, or the scribe may have worked from more than one manuscript. N. R. Ker dated the hand c. 1500; in any case, it is more than a century earlier than the hands of those manuscripts of the complete long text that we now possess.31 Writing without a break, the redactor chooses material thematically without regard for or mention of his or her sources. Neither Julian's visions nor, by and large, her more concrete images have interested the anthologizer. Selections are from the first, second, ninth, tenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth showings (chapters 4-7, 10, 22-24, 41-44, 53-56, 59-61, and 63-64 of the present text). Cuts are frequent, but there is only slight rearrangment from the sequence as it comes to us in P and S1. Differences in dialect which must have existed between the earliest manuscripts of Julian and of Hilton have been smoothed to a Southeast Midlands of the London area.

MS St. Joseph's College, Upholland, Lancashire (U) is a 127-folio collection of spiritual writings and translations, most of them firmly identified as those of Augustine Baker, and it is reasonable to assume, but not certain, that excerpts from Julian, which were written by Barbara Constable - from the longer text's chapters 26-28, 30, and 32 - are also his.32 How the book came to Upholland is not clear. The language is very much modernized, more so than the Cressy printed edition or P, from either of which it may derive.

For an edition of the long text, only P or S1 could be seriously considered because of the clear derivation of S2 from S1 and the dependence of Cressy on P. Because of the lateness of the long texts, it is unrewarding to speculate about the dialect of their model; we do not quite know the localized language of Julian, though the short text's northern flavor gives us at least a puzzle about it. More thoroughly modernized than S1, P also contains some deliberate and odd archaizing (C&W, I, 7-8). It has many instances of a more expansive phrasing than in S1. Largely because of this, for their 1978 edition Fathers Colledge and Walsh chose P. They believe that the Sloane scribe in cutting words considered superfluous has destroyed rhetorical patterning integral to Julian's thought (C&W, I, 26). Marion Glasscoe has argued that the greater conservatism of S1 in language and its very lack of concern for appearances may make it a more reliable copy text than the carefully worked over, more modernized P.3

The Sloane scribe may indeed have shortened the copy text, trimming a rhetorical finish that is rightly Julian's. But it is also possible that the Paris scribe amplified. For this edition, S1 has been chosen as being closer to the fourteenth-century vocabulary of the author. If S1 is coherent at all, as it usually is, I have used it. When a word is partially illegible in Sloane, I have used the whole word from Paris, not merely the occluded letters. I have followed the conventions of this series in expanding contractions, including the ampersand, much used by the S1 scribe, and changing letters to modern equivalents. Punctuation and paragraphing are editorial, although manuscript cues have been regarded, if not always followed. In several instances the S1 scribe omits n or final r after the vowel e, which suggests that she was working from a Middle English manuscript and simply misses signs of abbreviation. I have identified these omissions in the Notes, along with readings from P. The S1 scribe often uses capitalization in interesting ways. I have followed the policy of the Middle English Text series of capitalizing names for the deity and second and third person pronouns referring to the divinity. The scribe capitalizes irregularly Heaven, Hell, and Holy Church; I have uniformly capitalized these terms. She also capitalizes Moder and Moderhede quite regularly in chapters 57-63, and in these chapters I have followed her capitalization of those terms (see note to Chapter LVII). In a few other places I have followed the scribe's erratic capitalization of Child and Devil. Manuscript chapterization is regularized and positioned as it appears in the manuscript, usually directly after the chapter synopsis, but centered Roman chapter numbers are intruded. Words that Julian hears in the visions or understands as given to her are italicized, although they are not set off in S1, as they tend to be, by rubrication, in P. Apart from these alterations, this is a conservative text. In this I follow the decisions of Glasscoe and Colledge and Walsh, who give examples of respectful treatment of the manuscripts.

Wording of particular interest which appears only in the short text is reported selectively in notes. Two longer passages from the short text (A) are given in the appendices.

Go To The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, Part I
Select Bibliography


Long Text

London, British Library MS Sloane 2499.

London, British Library MS Sloane 3705.

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale MS Fonds anglais 40.

Short Text

London, British Library MS Additional 37790, fols. 97-115.


London, Westminster Cathedral Treasury MS 4, fols. 72v-112v.

Upholland, Lancashire, The Upholland Anthology, fols. 114r-117v.


Long Text

Cressy, H. [Hugh/ Serenus], ed. XVI Revelations of Divine Love, Shewed to a Devout Servant of our Lord, called Mother Juliana, an Anchorete of Norwich: Who lived in the Dayes of King Edward the Third. London, 1670; rpt. 1843, 1864, and 1902, with prefaces by, respectively, G. H. Parker, I. T. Hecker, and George Tyrrell. [Based upon the Paris manuscript.]

Glasscoe, Marion, ed. Julian of Norwich, A Revelation of Love. Exeter Medieval English Texts. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1976; rev. ed., 1986. [Based upon Sloane 2499. Introduction and glossary.]

Colledge, Edmund, and James Walsh, eds. A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich. 2 vols. Studies and Texts 35. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1978. [Based upon the Paris manuscript; both long and short texts with a full apparatus. Introduction includes a full description of the manuscripts, discussion of scribes and owners, an account of linguistic characteristics of the manuscripts, a summary of what is known about biography, and an essay on Julian's intellectual formation. Appendix of rhetorical figures, index of scriptural citations, and glossary.]

Short text

Beer, Frances, ed. Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love: The Shorter Version, ed. from BL Add. MS 37790. Middle English Texts 8. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1978. [Extensive introduction and notes.]

Colledge and Walsh. See above.


Owen, Hywel W., ed. "An Edition of the Upholland Anthology." B.A. dissertation Liverpool, 1962.

---, and Luke Bell. "The Upholland Anthology: An Augustine Baker Manuscript," The Downside Review 107 (1989), 274-92. [The first installment of three successive issues printing extracts of the manuscript.]

Modernizations and translations

Long Text

Collins, Henry, ed. and trans. Revelations of Divine Love, Shewed to a Devout Anchoress, by Name Mother Julian of Norwich. London: Thomas Richardson and Sons, 1877.

Warrack, Grace, ed. Revelations of Divine Love, Recorded by Julian, Anchoress at Norwich, Anno Domini 1373: A Version from the MS. in the British Museum. London: Methuen and Co., 1901. [Frequently rpt.]

Hudleston, Roger, ed. Revelations of Divine Love, Shewed to a Devout Ankress, by Name Julian of Norwich. London: Burns and Oates, 1927; 2nd ed. Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1952.

Wolters, Clifton, trans. Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1966.

Del Mastro, M. L., trans. Juliana of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love. Garden City, NY: Image Books/Doubleday, 1977. [Introduction includes brief accounts of Richard Rolle, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, and Margery Kempe, pp. 46-74.]

Colledge, Edmund, and James Walsh, trans. Julian of Norwich: Showings. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1978. Pp. 175-343. [Contains both long and short texts. Introduction of 104 pages, preface by Jean Leclercq, topical index.]

Short Text

Harford, Dundas, ed. and trans. Comfortable Words for Christ's Lovers, Being the Visions and Voices Vouchsafed to Lady Julian, Recluse at Norwich in 1373. London: H. R. Allenson, 1911. [Rpt. 1912, and, in 1925, under the title The Shewings of Lady Julian Recluse at Norwich, 1373.]

Reynolds, Anna Maria, ed. and trans. A Shewing of God's Love: The Shorter Version of Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich. Edited and partially modernized from the fifteenth-century manuscript. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1958.

Colledge, Edmund, and James Walsh, trans. Julian of Norwich: Showings. The Classics of Western Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1978. Pp. 125-170. [Contains also the long text.]


Walsh, James, and Eric Colledge, trans. Of the Knowledge of Ourselves and of God: A Fifteenth-Century Spiritual Florilegium. Fleur de Lys Series of Spiritual Classics. London: A. R. Mowbray, 1961. [Modernization of Westminster Cathedral Treasury MS 4.]


Sawyer, Michael E. A Bibliographical Index of Five English Mystics: Richard Rolle, Julian of Norwich, the Author of The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, Margery Kempe. Bibliographica Tripotampolitana 10. Pittsburgh: Clifford E. Barbour Library, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 1978. [Julian, pp. 53-68.]

Lagorio, Valerie M. and Ritamary Bradley. The Fourteenth-Century English Mystics: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1981. Pp. 105-26.


Allchin, A. M. "Julian of Norwich and the Continuity of Tradition." In Julian: Woman of Our Day, ed. Robert Llewelyn. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1985. Pp. 27-40. First published in The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1980.

Baker, Denise Nowakowski. Julian of Norwich's Showings: From Vision to Book. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. [Sets forth intellectual frames of reference potentially available to Julian; examines the transformation of the short text, primarily devotional, into a theologically sophisticated longer version; illustrates the recursive, interlace structure of the longer text.]

A Benedictine of Stanbrook (D. S. H.). "Dame Julian of Norwich." Clergy Review n.s. 44 (1959), 705-20.

Bennett, J. A. W. Middle English Literature. Ed. and completed by Douglas Gray. Oxford History of English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986. Pp. 322-34.

Bhattacharji, Santha. "Independence of Thought in Julian of Norwich." Word and Spirit 11 (1989), 79-92.

Børresen, Kari E. "Christ notre mère, la Théologie de Julienne de Norwich." Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeitrage der Cusanus-Gesellschaft 13 (1978), 320-29.

Bradley, Ritamary. "Christ, the Teacher, in Julian's Showings: The Biblical and Patristic Traditions." In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Papers Read at Dartington Hall, July 1982. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1982. Pp. 127-42.

---. "The Goodness of God: A Julian Study." In Langland, The Mystics and The Medieval English Religious Tradition: Essays in Honour of S. S. Hussey. Ed. Helen Phillips. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer/Boydell and Brewer, 1990. Pp. 85-95.

---. Julian's Way: A Practical Commentary on Julian of Norwich. London: Harper Collins Religious/ Harper Collins Publishers, 1992. [Clarifies difficulties of the long text and supplies theological background; thematic rather than sequential organization; attention to recurrent images (see especially pp. 123-34 and pp. 202-11). Intended in part as guide to spiritual understanding.]

---. "The Motherhood Theme in Julian of Norwich." 14th-Century English Mystics Newsletter 2.4 (1976), 25-30.

Chambers, P. Franklin. Juliana of Norwich: An Introductory Appreciation and An Interpretive Anthology. London: Victor Gollancz, 1955. [Expanded from the author's commemoration address at the Norwich Council of Christian Congregations on the eve of the dedication on May 8, 1953, of the reconstructed parish church of St. Julian's, the introduction includes rarely cited references to Julian from earlier readers and notice of literary use of her book; an anthology of translated selections grouped under the heads "experiential," "evangelical," and "mystical" and a gathering of "One Hundred Aphorisms" follow.]

Clark, J. P. H. "'Fiducia' in Julian of Norwich." The Downside Review 99 (1981), 97-108; 214-29.

---. "Nature, Grace and the Trinity in Julian of Norwich." The Downside Review 100 (1982), 203-20.

Colledge, Edmund, and James Walsh. "Editing Julian of Norwich's Revelations: A Progress Report." Mediaeval Studies 38 (1976), 404-27.

del Mastro, M. L. "Juliana of Norwich: Parable of the Lord and Servant - Radical Orthodoxy." Mystics Quarterly 14 (1988), 84-93. [Sets out in outline form five points of divergence in Julian's writing from "popular understanding" of the church's teaching, and notes orthodox precedents in John, Paul, and Augustine.]

Ellis, Roger. "Revelation and the Life of Faith: The Vision of Julian of Norwich." Christian 6 (1980), 61-71.

Evasdaughter, Elizabeth N. "Julian of Norwich." In Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment Women Philosophers A.D. 500-1600. Ed. Mary Ellen Waithe. Vol. II of A History of Women Philosophers. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989. Pp. 191-222. [Argues that an orderly discourse on knowledge supports the description of Christ's revelations to Julian, that Julian knew the epistemological issues of her day and took positions upon them, assuming, with Aristotle and Aquinas, that sensory images and concepts are informative of reality. Julian stressed the possibility of knowing God, to the degree that she gives the impression of answering the opposite proposition. Her statements on the identity of the human soul and the substance of God are applied so as to sustain ordinary Christians against depression and unwarranted guilt. Comparisons with Aquinas, Augustine, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, and the author of the Cloud of Unknowing clarify the discussion.]

Gilchrist, Jay. "Unfolding Enfolding Love in Julian of Norwich's Revelations." 14th-Century English Mystics Newsletter 9 (1983), 67-88. [Sequential summary and explanation of Julian's theology includes the "great deed" of chapter 32 and the "godly will" which never assents to sin of chapter 37.]

Glasscoe, Marion. "Means of Showing: An Approach to Reading Julian of Norwich." Spätmittelalterliche Geistliche Literatur in der Nationalsprache, ed. James Hogg, Analecta Cartusiana 106 (Salzburg, 1983), 155-77.

---. "Visions and Revisions: A Further Look at the Manuscripts of Julian of Norwich." Studies in Bibliography 42 (1989), 103-20. [A discussion of problems in editorial choices and an argument for preferring Sloane 2499 for its greater sense of religious experience as a dynamic reality and for its greater closeness to Julian's fourteenth-century vocabulary and syntax.]

Grayson, Janet. "The Eschatological Adam's Kirtle." Mystics Quarterly 11 (1985), 153-60.

Hanshell, Deryck. "A Crux in the Interpretation of Dame Julian." The Downside Review, 92 (1974), 77-91.

Heimmel, Jennifer P. "God Is Our Mother": Julian of Norwich and the Medieval Image of Christian Feminine Divinity. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, 1982. [Thoroughly treats theme of the motherhood of God, detailing Julian's use of the complete maternal cycle — enclosure and growth in the womb, labor and giving birth, suckling, feeding, washing, healing, and care and education of the older child; includes a gathering of Middle English references to the motherhood of God as well as those in early sources; offers remarks on Julian's prose style.]

Homier, Donald F. "The Function of Rhetoric in Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love." 14th-Century English Mystics Newsletter 7 (1981), 162-78.

Inge, William Ralph. "The Ancren Riwle and Julian of Norwich." In Studies of English Mystics: St. Margaret's Lectures, 1905. 1906; rpt. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1969. Pp. 38-79. [The lecture that helped to introduce Julian to an early twentieth-century audience.]

Jacoff, Rachel. "God as Mother: Julian of Norwich's Theology of Love." Denver Quarterly 18.4 (Winter 1984), 134-39.

Jantzen, Grace M. Julian of Norwich: Mystic and Theologian. 1987; New York: Paulist Press, 1988. [Theological treatment preceded by biographical and sociological background.]

Johnson, Lynn Staley. "The Trope of the Scribe and the Question of Literary Authority in the Works of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe." Speculum 66 (1991), 820-38.

Lawlor, John. "A Note on the Revelations of Julian of Norwich." Review of English Studies, n.s. 2 (1951), 255-58.

Lichtmann, Maria R. "'I desyrede a bodylye syght': Julian of Norwich and the Body." Mystics Quarterly 17 (1991), 12-19.

Llewelyn, Robert, ed. Julian: Woman of Our Day. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1985. [An anthology focused on Julian's current relevance introduced by a former rector of St. Julian's parish, Michael McLean of Norwich Cathedral, with essays by the editor, A. M. Allchin, Ritamary Bradley, Richard Harries, Kenneth Leech, Elizabeth Ruth Obbard, Anna Maria Reynolds, and John Swanson. Essays by Allchin, Bradley, and Reynolds previously printed.]

Mary Paul, Sister. All Shall Be Well: Julian of Norwich and the Compassion of God. Fairacres Publication 53. Oxford: SLG Press, 1976.

McNamer, Sarah. "The Exploratory Image: God as Mother in Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love." Mystics Quarterly 15 (1989), 21-28.

Molinari, Paul. Julian of Norwich: The Teaching of a 14th Century English Mystic. New York: The Arden Library, 1958; rpt. London: Longmans, Green, 1979. [Compares Julian's account with theological paradigms for contemplative prayer and mystic experience; gives attention to the theme of God as mother in the course of a full-length study of Julian's contributions.]

Nuth, Joan M. Wisdom's Daughter: The Theology of Julian of Norwich. New York: Crossroad, 1991. [An explication of the theology of the Shewings with a view to offering a paradigm for contemporary women theologians.]

Owen, H. W. "Another Augustine Baker Manuscript." In Dr. L. Reypens-Album. Ed. Alb[ert] Ampe. Antwerp: Uitgave Van Het Ruusbroec-Genootschap, 1964. Pp. 269-80.

Panichelli, Debra Scott. "Finding God in the Memory: Julian and the Loss of the Visions." The Downside Review 104 (1986), 299-317.

Pelphrey, Brant. Love Was His Meaning: The Theology and Mysticism of Julian of Norwich. Salzburg Studies in English Literature 92.4. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg, 1982. [Treats the interpenetrating development of three areas of Christian theology throughout the Shewings: the doctrine of the Trinity, or the nature of the inner being of God; the doctrine of incarnation and atonement, or the nature of God in relation to humanity; and life in the Holy Spirit or the nature of human response to God. Stresses that Julian understands the relationship of the divine to the human as ontological, a matter of being rather than of feeling. Thorough consideration of views that have been thought engimatic or unusual, such as the deed that will make all things well, the absence of wrath in God, sin, the motherhood of God, and human "sensuality" and "substance."]

---. Christ Our Mother: Julian of Norwich. Ed. Noel Dermot O'Donoghue. Volume 7 of The Way of the Christian Mystics. Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1989. [Written with the general reader in mind and with a pastoral orientation, this book goes over much the same ground as the 1982 book by the same author. A useful new feature is a sequential outline of the showings with their contents classified under sub-headings (e.g., corporeal visions, lessons, teachings, locutions), pp. 79-91.]

Peters, Brad. "The Reality of Evil within the Mystic Vision of Julian of Norwich." Mystics Quarterly 13 (1987), 195-202.

Reynolds, Anna Maria. "Julian of Norwich: Woman of Hope." Mystics Quarterly 10 (1984), 118-25. [Extracts twelve statements from the parable of the lord and servant (chapter 51) which constitute a "concise and accurate summary of Salvation History," furnishing a basis for Christian hope.]

---. "Some Literary Influences in the Revelations of Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-post 1416)." Leeds Studies in English 7 (1952), 18-28.

Riehle, Wolfgang. The Middle English Mystics. Trans. Bernard Standring. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981. [Studien zur englischen Mystik des Mittelalters first published in 1977. Examines the special vocabulary of the Middle English mystics, Rolle, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, and Margery Kempe as well as Julian, with attention to words such as ground, feeling, homely, courteous, naked, and enjoy that carry theological shadings not immediately evident; notes patristic and scholastic precedents and compares continental mystics' writings throughout. Extensive bibliography.]

Robertson, Elizabeth. "Medieval Medical Views of Women and Female Spirituality in the Ancrene Wisse and Julian of Norwich's Showings." In Feminist Approaches to the Body in Medieval Literature. Ed. Linda Lomperis and Sarah Stanbury. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993. Pp. 142-67. [Discusses Julian of Norwich's view of the body and her descriptions of blood in the course of an argument that medieval medical theory conditions the focus on blood, tears, and erotic imagery that figures in accounts of female spirituality both by men and by women; outlines dominant traditions of relevant medieval medical commentary.]

Sayer, Frank Dale, ed. Julian and Her Norwich: Commemorative Essays and Handbook to the Exhibition "Revelations of Divine Love." Norwich: Julian of Norwich 1973 Celebration Committee, 1973. [A gathering of essays for the 600th anniversary observance of the visions. Several contributors have ties with and knowledge of the local context of the work. See especially F. I. Dunn, "Hermits, Anchorites and Recluses: A Study with Reference to Medieval Norwich," pp. 18-27.]

Sprung, Andrew. "'We nevyr shall come out of hym': Enclosure and Immanence in Julian of Norwich's Book of Showings." Mystics Quarterly 19 (1993), 47-62.

Stone, Robert Karl. Middle English Prose Style: Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich. The Hague: Mouton, 1970.

Tugwell, Simon. "Julian of Norwich as a Speculative Theologian." 14th-Century English Mystics Newsletter 9 (1983), 199-209.

Underhill, Evelyn. "Julian of Norwich." In The Essentials of Mysticism and Other Essays. London: J. M. Dent, 1920. Pp. 183-98. [Influential essay representative of Underhill's interest in Julian.]

Vinje, Patricia Mary. An Understanding of Love According to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich. Salzburg Studies in English Literature. Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Americanistik, Universität Salzburg, 1983. [Julian as an allegorical writer.]

von Nolcken, Christina. "Julian of Norwich." In Middle English Prose. Ed. A. S. G. Edwards. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1984. Pp. 97-108. [Succinct account of what is known about Julian and of the work upon her texts; brief remarks on prose style; points out the need for more stylistic studies of Middle English prose to establish context for Julian.]

Walsh, James. "God's Homely Loving: St. John and Julian of Norwich on the Divine Indwelling." The Month, n.s. 19 (1958), 164-72.

[Ward], Benedicta. "Julian the Solitary." In Julian Reconsidered by Kenneth Leech and Benedicta Ward. Oxford: SLG Press, 1988. Pp. 11-35. [Suggestions on Julian's personal background based on what is said, and not said, in the Shewings.]

Watkin, E. I. On Julian of Norwich, and In Defence of Margery Kempe. Exeter Medieval English Texts and Studies. Rev. ed. Exeter: University of Exeter, 1979. [Combines a 1933 essay on Julian of Norwich, pp. 1-33, with a 1953 essay on Margery Kempe. Offers a concise exposition of Julian's theology; biographical material includes an argument that Julian must have been from the north rather than Norfolk because of language forms in the manuscripts.]

Watson, Nicholas. "The Composition of Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Love." Speculum 68 (1993), 637-83. [Challenges received view that the short text was written shortly after the visionary events it reports.]

Wilson, R. M. "Three Middle English Mystics." Essays and Studies n.s. 9 (1956), 87-112. [Proposes that the fourteenth century efflorescence of English mystical literature is to a degree more apparent than real because before the development of vernacular religious prose in the fourteenth century unless mystics were sufficiently literate to write in Latin they were perforce silent; discusses the prose style of Julian, Richard Rolle, and Margery Kempe.]

Windeatt, B. A. "Julian of Norwich and her Audience." Review of English Studies, n.s. 28 (1977), 1-17. [A careful examination of differences between short and long texts.]

---. "The Art of Mystical Loving: Julian of Norwich." In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1980. Pp. 55-71. [Argues that Julian's urgent search for understanding of her original visionary experience results in the long text's structure of exploration in which she layers interpretive commentary into a narrative skeleton; suggests that patterns of contemporary dream vision poems, in particular Piers Plowman and Pearl, offer illuminating structural correlatives.]

Wright, Robert E. "The 'Boke Performyd': Affective Technique and Reader Response in the Showings of Julian of Norwich." Christianity & Literature 36.4 (1987), 13-32.

Related and Background Studies

Birrell, T. A. "English Catholic Mystics in Non-Catholic Circles." The Downside Review 94 (1976), 60-81, 99-117, and 213-31. [Includes Julian in a ranging study of the reception, from the l7th century forward, of early Catholic mystic writings.]

Bynum, Caroline Walker. "Jesus as Mother and Abbot as Mother: Some Themes in Twelfth-Century Cistercian Writing," Harvard Theological Review 70 (1977), 257-84, as expanded in Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of California Press, l982), pp. 110-169.

---. Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.

Cabassut, André. "Une Dévotion médiévale peu connue: La Dévotion à 'Jésus notre mère'." Revue d'ascétique et de mystique 25 (1949), 234-45.

Campbell, James. "Norwich." In The Atlas of Historic Towns. Ed. M. D. Lobel. London: Scolar Press, and Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), II, 1-25 plus maps.

Clay, Rotha M. The Hermits and Anchorites of England. London: Methuen, 1914.

---. "Further Studies on Medieval Recluses." Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 3rd series, 16 (1953), 74-86.

Griffiths, Jeremy, and Derek Pearsall, eds. Book Production and Publishing in Britain 1375-1475. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. [Although there is no evidence as to how Julian's manuscripts first reached an audience, this collection of essays brings together current research on publishing in her time; see especially the introduction by Pearsall, A. I. Doyle, "Publication by Members of the Religious Orders," pp. 109-23, and Vincent Gillespie, "Vernacular Books of Religion," pp. 317-344.]

Irigaray, Luce. "La Mystérique." Speculum of the Other Woman. Trans. Gillian C. Gill. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. Pp. 191-202. [Speculum de l'autre femme first published in 1974. The feminist theoretician's reflective meditation upon mystic experience.]

Lasko, P[eter]and N.J. Morgan, eds. Medieval Art in East Anglia 1300-1520. Norwich: Jarrold & Sons, 1973; London: Thames & Hudson, 1974.

Leclercq, H. "Reclus." Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie. Tome 14, Part 2. Ed. Fernand Cabrol and H. Leclercq. Paris: Letouzey et Ane?, 1948. Cols. 2149-59.

McLaughlin, Eleanor. "'Christ My Mother': Feminine Naming and Metaphor in Medieval Spirituality." Nashotah Review 15 (Fall 1975), 228-48.

Petroff, Elizabeth Alvilda. "The Visionary Tradition in Women's Writings: Dialogue and Autobiography." Introduction to Medieval Women's Visionary Literature. Ed. Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Pp. 3-59.

Rahner, Karl. Visions and Prophecies. Trans. Charles Henkey and Richard Strachan. New York: Herder and Herder, 1963. [Roman Catholic theologian briefly covers the possibility, theological significance, and psychological problems of private revelations and visions, and gives some criteria for deciding whether visions are genuine.]

Spearritt, Placid. "The Survival of Mediaeval Spirituality among the Exiled English Black Monks." American Benedictine Review 25 (1974), 287-309. [Interesting for its observation of the communities where manuscripts of Julian's long text appeared in the seventeenth century.]

Tanner, Norman P. The Church in Late Medieval Norwich 1370-1532. Studies and Texts 66. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1984. [Evidence from wills supports a thorough study of both official and popular religious life in Julian's city in her period up to the eve of the Reformation.]

Wallace, David. "Mystics and Followers in Siena and East Anglia: A Study in Taxonomy, Class and Cultural Mediation." In The Medieval Mystical Tradition in England: Papers read at Dartington Hall, July, 1984. Ed. Marion Glasscoe. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer / Boydell and Brewer, 1984. Pp. 169-91. [Comparison and contrast of the local receptions of the writings of St. Catherine of Siena and of Margery Kempe gives context for Julian, mentioned in passing.]

Warren, Ann K. Anchorites and Their Patrons in Medieval England. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. [Richly-documented study of anchorites in medieval England; includes statistics on anchoritic population from the twelfth century to 1539, with distribution of reclusoria sites and known recluses by localities, sex, and previous status when known; discusses relationships of bishops to recluses, and support levels for recluses from different classes of patrons; extensive bibliography and a bibliographical appendix of the thirteen English anchoritic rules written from the eleventh through the fourteenth centuries.]