The Solitary Self
Individuality in the Ancrene WisseBook - 1981
The Ancrene Wisse is a spiritual guide forfemale recluses, written at the request ofthree young anchoresses who were voluntarily enclosed for life within small cells. Withrare sensitivity and discernment, LindaGeorgianna analyzes this complex and skillfully composed treatise and examines its detailed portrayal of the rich, sometimes rewarding and sometimes frustrating innerlife of the solitary. Georgianna sees inthe author's practical and spiritual counsel,ranging from advice on owning a cat to theconfession of sin, an assumption that exterior and interior realities are inextricablybound in the solitary life, which becomes a highly self-conscious journey through human experience.
The Solitary Self offers both a reading of this linguistically difficult text and a study of those contemporary intellectual and cultural concerns--particularly the widespread interest in the psychology of sin, confession, and repentance--which help to explain the Ancrene Wisse author's insistence upon self-awareness and individuality in the solitary life.