The Dark Night of the Soul
This chapter analyzes the rich visionary traditions in medieval Christianity. It first analyzes the visions of Julian of Norwich, the first known female author in England. These visions are recorded in two texts, both of which begin with Julian's wish for three things: a vivid perception of Christ's Passion; bodily sickness; and for God to give her three wounds. It then attempts to understand the symbolic meanings of dryness by interrogating a study on the parallelism between the “holy anorexia” of Christian female religious virtuosos and anorexia nervosa, the neurotic condition afflicting modern-day females. Next, it examines the notion of fasting females and the spiritual nourishment that sustained them through St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582). The remainder of the chapter discusses Margery Kempe, born around 1373, and her unique relation to Jesus, that is, her continual weeping and crying whenever she recollects his Passion.
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