This study analyzes the complex negotiations between faith and interiority in Middle English religious texts. In 1215, Pope Innocent III issued a decree requiring all Christians who had reached the age of reason to make an annual private confession. His proclamation inspired the production of a wealth of texts---initially, to assist the clergy in educating lay Christians in the faith and preparing them to make good confessions, but as time passed, for the laity to use and learn from independently. These texts addressed, represented, and worried the idea of interiority in unprecedented ways for audiences of lay Christians far larger than had ever been invited to consider such issues. Paying particular attention to characters' voices, which are textual indices of interiority, and to narrative acts of violence, which clearly separate characters in conflict from one another as well as imply the very private experience of pain, this study argues that these texts had limited success at best representing institutional faith and interiority as compatible. Most often, they present depictions of these elements that either suggest one has to be compromised for the other or implicitly promote more private, subversive forms of devotion. Because they provided lay Christians with lessons in interiority in their own language that could be considered and digested without the assistance of a representative of the church, these texts offered them opportunities to shape and cultivate their own interior lives---using institutional materials, but not necessarily reflecting institutional interests. While this study includes such canonical works as Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, The Book of Margery Kempe, and two of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, it also considers Middle English writings that have been more or less neglected by scholars---saints' lives, miracle stories, lyrics, and lay contemplative and meditative texts---and consequently contributes to the recuperation and revaluation of many captivating and valuable medieval texts.When her new husband stops being her adversary, however, when he cedes to her control of the marriage, the Tale is over; the old haga#39;s ... after these lines because, with the removal of any opposition, there is nothing more to her story, nothing left of the Wife of Bath to relate. It could be argued that the Wifea#39;s Tale and Prologue end when they do, after husbands have granted sovereignty, and as they do, anbsp;...
|Title||:||Voice Lessons: Violence, Voice, and Interiority in Middle English Religious Narratives, 1300--1500|
|Publisher||:||ProQuest - 2007|