AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) je akademický časopis publikující jak lingvistické, tak literárně historické a teoretické studie. Nedílnou součástí časopisu jsou i recenze odborných knih a zprávy z akademického prostředí.

Časopis je indexován v databázích CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO a ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2022 No 2 (2022), 7–20

Romancing the Anchorhold: Romance Motifs in Ancrene Wisse, “Guide for Anchoresses”

Klára Petříková

zveřejněno: 16. 03. 2023


Sweeping economic and social developments in the twelfth century gave rise to a series of intellectual and spiritual changes which laid emphasis on exploring and cultivating the self via personal experience and refining one’s virtues, which became the pivot of the romance genre. In the religious sphere, such tendencies gave rise to the emergence of new forms of religious life. One of these was anchoritism, striving to replicate the vita apostolica of the first followers of Christ. Ancrene Wisse was composed to provide spiritual guidance originally to three sisters from one noble family who devoted their lives to God as anchoresses. The text of the guide typically uses secular imagery, including romance motifs, for spiritual ends. This article discusses which romance motifs can be discerned in the text of Ancrene Wisse and assesses their function. It concentrates on comparing the romance topos of the lady in the bower with the symbolic space of the anchorhold and considers the issue of permeability of its borders in terms of the genres of anchoritic guide and romance. It also comments on the active/passive role of the romance lady and the anchoress, on their roles as a receiver and an initiator of action.

klíčová slova: Ancrene Wisse; anchoresses; romance; love; castle; siege; suitor

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