Visions and Longings Medieval Women Mystics
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The women mystics of medieval Europe represent the very first feminine voices heard in a world where women were nearly silent. As such, they are striking and unusual, strange, powerful, and urgent. Monica Furlong uses key selections from among these women's own writings and writings about them by their contemporaries, along with her own assessment of them, to open up their contributions to a wide popular audience. The eleven women represented in this anthology were housewives, visionaries, abbesses, beguines, recluses, and nuns who wrote between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. They include: Heloise, the scholar and abbess, whose letters to Abelard are treasure of medieval literature Hildegard of Bingen, the visionary Rhineland nun Clare of Assisi, the close friend of Saint Francis and founder of the Poor Clares Catherine of Siena, an influential spiritual counselor whose book, Dialogue, consists of a debate between herself and God Julian of Norwich, the English hermitess who spent the greater part of her life meditating on and coming to understand the striking visions she received as a young woman and many others.