Julie Kerr's vivid account provides insights into the thoughts and experiences of the medieval monk.This book will make an important contribution to our understanding of monastic life by exploring key aspects that have been either inadequately addressed or overlooked by historians. For example, 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 rigours 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? Drawing on chronicles, letters, customaries and miracle stories, the experience of medieval monastic life will be presented through the monks' own words.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1: Introducing the Medieval Monastery; 2: The Hardships of the Cloister; 3: The Sound of Silence - The Silence of the Cloister; 4: The Silence of the Night; 5: A Life of Obedience; 6: The Work of God - The Communal Life; 7: The Work of God - The Monk in Solitude; Conclusion.
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.