On Monday 21 March from 6-7pm I'll be giving a lecture here in Bergen for the Medieval Cluster or Middelalderklyngen, as part of their Middelalderforum: "Sancta Birgitta av Sverige i middelalderens England." It's a new view on Birgitta, through the eyes of a set of five English readers, from the late fourteenth-century through the Reformation. The lecture will be in Norwegian.
Den mest innflytelsesrike kvinnelige visjonæren i middelalderens England var ikke engelsk. Hun besøkte aldri England og snakket heller ikke språket.
Det var Birgitta av Sverige (d. 1373), aristokrat, hustru, mor, aktivist, pilegrim – og viktigst av alt, visjonær. På 1400-tallet ble hennes enorme bok Revelationes godt kjent i England og oversatt fra latin til mellomengelsk flere ganger. Hennes munkeorden hadde et hus i England, som het Syon Abbey. Og sakte men sikkert ble hun den mest populære kvinnelige forfatteren i hele landet, en påstand som er overraskende og lite kjent.
I dette foredraget vil vi møte fem engelske lesere som har hatt nære relasjoner til Birgitta gjennom tekstene hennes. Vi vil se Birgitta gjennom deres øyne og lære: hva betydde Birgitta for hver av dem? Hvorfor var hun så viktig for det engelske folket?
Dyvekes Vinkjeller is old, authentic, and cozy (though cold) so grab a Hansa on tap from the bar and join us! (Sorry, the lecture will not be streamed or recorded.)
A new article of mine has just been published in the medieval studies journal Viator: "“Writing-to the moment”: Narrative Immediacy, Mystical Theology, and the Sanctification of Time in Richard Methley’s Refectorium Salutis." You can read about it here: http://www.laurasaetveitmiles.com/publications and also visit the journal issue page: https://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/abs/10.1484/J.VIATOR.5.128756 And here is the full abstract:
Richard Methley (d. 1527/8), a Carthusian monk in the north of England, wrote a series of mystical treatises in Latin that have received minimal attention from modern scholars. For that reason it has gone unnoticed that in his diary-like work Refectorium salutis (The Refectory of Salvation) Methley employs a quite unusual narrative strategy: he writes down his visionary experiences as they are happening, giving an immediacy to his text that the British literary tradition does not see the likes of until hundreds of years later with the development of the novel and Samuel Richardson’s experimentations with “writing-to the moment.” This essay sets Methley’s own precocious moments of “writing-to the moment” in the context of his text’s coherent program of temporal markers, extending from the liturgical year, to the hours of the Divine Office, to the indivisible instant and the “now” of the eternal present shared by narrator and reader-and God. With the help of Augustine and Paul Ricoeur, this article argues that Methley’s whole chronological system, and especially his narrative immediacy, captures to some extent the eternity of the divine and the time-rupturing mystical unity achieved by Methley in his ecstasies. Such an innovative intersection of literary and theological effects highlights how the Refectorium forces us to rethink a newly elongated history of “writing-to the moment” in terms of the sacred and not just the fictional.