Life in the Medieval Cloister

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Bloomsbury Publishing, May 14, 2009 - History - 272 pages
2 Reviews
Life in the Medieval Cloister makes extensive use of primary sources and quotations from chronicles, letters, customaries and miracle stories, and the experience of medieval monastic life is presented through the monks' own words. Medievalist Julie Kerr provides day to day account of life in the medieval monastery from the Norman conquest to the Dissolution, with a particular focus on the high Middle ages, exploring such questions as:
• What effect did the ascetic lifestyle have on the monks' physical health and mental well-being?


• How difficult was it for newcomers to adapt to the rigors of the cloister?


• Did the monks suffer from anxiety and boredom; what caused them concern and how did they seek comfort?


• What did it really mean to live the solitary life within a communal environment and how significant were issues of loneliness and isolation?


Life in the Medieval Cloister makes an important contribution to our understanding of medieval monastic life by exploring key aspects that have been either inadequately addressed or overlooked by historians, but also offers an up close and personal perspective on a fascinating, but little known, corner of history.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
1 The Precinct the People the Daily Regime
19
Diet Sleep Clothing and Bathing
45
Family Ties Health and Sickness
65
The Silence of the Cloister
81
The Silence of the Night
103
6 A Life of Obedience
113
7 Crimes and Misdemeanours
133
The Communal Life
151
The Monk Alone
177
Epilogue
197
Glossary
199
Notes
213
Bibliography
235
Index
249
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About the author (2009)

Dr. Julie Kerr is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Medieval History at the University of St Andrews. Her research centres on monasticism in England and she is the author of Monastic Hospitality: The Benedictines in England (Boydell, 2007).

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