FSU Library: Annotated Bibliographies

Johnson, Lynn Staley. “The Trophe of the Scribe and the Questions of Literary Authority in the Works of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.” Speculum 66.4 (1991): 820-38. Print.

Johnson is mainly concerned with the scribe and his position in the texts of Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and others. In particular, she analyzes the problem of the scribe having more authority over a text than the author and the ramifications and alterations caused by such a relationship. Johnson works under the assumption, based on certain evidence, that Julian was frustrated with her diminished role in her own work and wanted more of a position within her own writing. She also asserts that Julian, as well as Margery, were subject to the manipulations of a male authority, in the guise of the scribe. Johnson places a high degree of worth on the idea that scribes were utilized to keep women writers, particularly mystics, in check. Her argument, while interesting, lacks a certain amount of persuasiveness and will need to be corroborated before use. Lynn Staley Johnson is a professor of medieval and Renaissance studies at Colgate University, and, given that her other publications include the book Margery Kempe's Dissenting Fictions as well as an edition of Margery Kempe's work, she is certainly a credible source on this topic.

Julian of Norwich: A Book of Essays. Ed. Sandra J. McEntire. New York: Garland, 1998. Print.

This collection of essays on Julian is, in general, a useful compendium of ideas, some more helpful than others. Denise Baker's essay “The Image of God: Contrasting Configurations in Julian of Norwich's Showings and Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection” is an interesting study; she observes that Julian’s use of Augustine is different and more rich than that of Hilton, for Julian's revelations are from God while Hilton's is the result of study. She also asserts that they probably did not influence each other despite their proximity. Cynthea Masson's essay “The Point of Coincidence: Rhetoric and the Apophatic in Julian of Norwich's Showings”is excellent in its discussion of the relationship between the divine and the human and Julian’s beliefs concerning the understandability of God. I found Susan K. Hagen’s “St. Cecilia and St. John of Beverly: Julian of Norwich’s Early Model and Lat Affirmation” particularly worthy of note; she discusses the difference between the purposes of the short text and that of the long. She attributes the change from the inspirational nature of the first to the didactic purpose of the second to Julian’s reflections upon the memory of her visions and her emerging sense of herself as a teacher. The essays by Jay Ruud and David Tinsley are of interest for their discussions, respectively, of the masculine behavior, including the devil, and Julian’s encounter with the devil. The editor Sandra J. McEntire is an Associate Professor of English at Rhodes College, and, in addition to this collection, has also edited a similar collection on Margery Kempe. Thus, Dr. McEntire is a valid source and can be considered an authority.


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