Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorWronski-Mayersak, Coreyen_US
dc.date.accessioned2012-12-17T13:50:43Z
dc.date.available2016-12-30T06:46:59Z
dc.date.issued2011-08-31en_US
dc.identifier.otherbibid: 7955426
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1813/30626
dc.description.abstractIn the corpus of Western mystical literature, many writers claim that mystical union melds the human soul with God, exacting a temporary loss of awareness of their being apart from the divine. This phenomenon particularly intrigued Christian mystics in the late Middle Ages, a period coinciding with a noted increase in first-person narration and a renaissance of the idea of selfhood as a central concern in literary texts. This study argues that mystical writers face a unique challenge in conveying their sense of standing at a liminal point or threshold, inbetween states of being, negotiating (before the gaze of their readers) where the "self" ends and the divine other begins. Many assert that the ineffable nature of their experience makes this impossible to convey directly. This dissertation traces representations of the experiencing and narrating I in mystical literature to analyze how writers portray such a liminal state. After exploring liminality as a valuable critical concept for understanding mystical narrative, and as a central component of medieval Christian mystical experience, focus turns to the texts of Elizabeth of Spalbeek, whose "text" is actually a performance, and then to Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich, mystics from Lowland regions and England, but all of whose works circulated in some form in late medieval England. The author argues that these mystics are distinctive because they creatively manipulate conventions of narrative in order to represent spiritual experience and its potentially disruptive, divisive effects on perceptions of selfhood and ontological status. Evidencing a keen awareness of how consciousness and its divisions can be represented in narrative, they turn to structures that destabilize the narrating voice or persona, including dialogic discourse that melds multiple voices, inverted chronologies that suspend time, and recursive patterns, and use narrative form to depict their experiences. The study‟s claims proceed from close analysis of the texts in conversation with discourses of narratology, speculative theology, performance theory, anthropology, and psychoanalytic and philosophical theories of the subject. The dissertation bridges scholarship on narrative and mysticism, and contributes to the history of subject-formation and the medieval development of a literature of the self.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.subjectmedievalen_US
dc.subjectmysticismen_US
dc.subjectnarrativeen_US
dc.titleSpeaking From The Threshold: Liminal And Literary Subjectivity In Late Medieval Mystical Narrativesen_US
dc.typedissertation or thesisen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglish Language and Literature
thesis.degree.grantorCornell Universityen_US
thesis.degree.levelDoctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.namePh. D., English Language and Literature
dc.contributor.chairGalloway, Andrew Scotten_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberRaskolnikov, Mashaen_US
dc.contributor.committeeMemberHowie, Cary Sen_US


Files in this item

Thumbnail

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Statistics