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Chapter 6 - Otherworld Journeys of the Central Middle Ages

from Part I - Chronological Surveys

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2020

Richard Matthew Pollard
Affiliation:
Université du Québec à Montréal
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Summary

This chapter not only explores the efflorescence of ‘new’ visions that occurred, especially, but not only, in the British Isles, during the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, it also traces the reproduction of early medieval visions too, arguing that the slow evolution of ‘purgatory’ from early medieval origins facilitated their continued use. Change is nonetheless to be found in this period. There was renewed sensitivity to old anxieties about the authenticity of visions. There was a fresh flux of debate about conceptualisations of the afterlife that were so strongly material. And, most especially, new theological and pastoral priorities were imprinted on vision-texts, which were subtly reshaped by shifting thinking about penitence and prayer. The chapter examines some of the most ‘popular’ visions, measured in terms of manuscript circulation, but it also reconstructs something of the range of visionary experiences too, taking into account narratives that were little attended in their day.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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