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Introduction

  • Anne Bagnall Yardley
Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

The communal spirituality of medieval nuns is grounded in and shaped by the regular performance of the divine office—the nearly ceaseless singing that occupies nuns for so many of their waking hours (figure I.1). This constant music making shapes the vocabulary of spirituality, teaches and reinforces the tenets of Christianity, interprets the relationships among nuns, and even connects them to the world outside of the cloister. Singing the liturgy is a performative act—one that shapes the very community that gives it form. For medieval English nuns, the evidence from many specific religious houses demonstrates how pervasively this performance reinforces the particularity of each house even as it simultaneously links the nuns to the church “universal.”

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Barbara Newman, ed., Voice of the Living Light: Hildegard of Bingen and Her World (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), p. 149.Google Scholar
  2. 17.
    James MacKinnon, ed., Antiquity and the Middle Ages: From Ancient Greece to the 15th Century (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice–Hall, 1991), p. 89.Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    Samantha J.E. Riches and Sarah Salih, eds., Gender and Holiness: Men, Women, and Saints in Late Medieval Europe (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 6.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead, eds., Writing Religious Women: Female Spiritual and Textual Practices in Late Medieval England (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), pp. 1–17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anne Bagnall Yardley 2006

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  • Anne Bagnall Yardley

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