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Title: Hermits, recluses and anchorites : a study of eremitism in England and France c.1050-c.1250
Author: Duff, Jacqueline F. G.
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
Eremitism is a broad movement and took many different forms during the course of the middle ages. This thesis is a comparative study of the eremitic life in England and France during the period when it had, arguably, reached the height of its popularity. While eremitism in both countries shared many common characteristics, there were also differing interpretations of how this ideal should be achieved. That is most noticeable in the way eremitic communities were structured and in the activities with which they engaged. Inevitably, modem perceptions of medieval eremitism are shaped by the sources available, notably the writings of the hagiographers, all of whom had their own objectives when choosing to write the Life of a particular hermit. Modem historians, therefore, view medieval eremitic practices through the words of these hagiographers rather than through the actions of the hermits themselves. Using extant Vitae and other relevant texts, this study begins with an assessment of the primary sources, and how the language they use has affected both medieval and modern perceptions of the hermit. The terminology adopted for differentiating between a hermit, recluse and anchorite, if indeed, this is necessary, is significant to this debate and is discussed in the first two chapters. The following three chapters (3-5) examine how hermits lived, the support structures they created and how these differed in England and France. While hermits established their own 3 networks, they were still reliant on sponsorship from both the Church and society, which helped them to lead lives in accordance with their high ideals. The final three chapters (6-8) offer an analysis of the broad range of activities which hermits undertook, both spiritual and temporal, and explores how they interacted with the Church and society through these activities. It was due to such interaction that they were seen as channels for divine power and regarded by contemporaries as 'living saints'.
Supervisor: Golding, Brian ; Clarke, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.559749  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D111 Medieval History
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