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Visions and voice-hearing in medieval and early modern contexts

Powell, Hilary and Saunders, Corinne (2021) 'Visions and voice-hearing in medieval and early modern contexts.', . Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine.


This book examines how the experiences of hearing voices and seeing visions were understood within the cultural, literary, and intellectual contexts of the medieval and early modern periods. In the Middle Ages, these experiences were interpreted according to frameworks that could credit visionaries or voice-hearers with spiritual knowledge, and allow them to inhabit social roles that were as much desired as feared. Voice-hearing and visionary experience offered powerful creative possibilities in imaginative literature and were often central to the writing of inner, spiritual lives. Ideas about such experience were taken up and reshaped in response to the cultural shifts of the early modern period. These essays, which consider the period 1100 to 1700, offer diverse new insights into a complex, controversial and contested category of human experience, exploring literary and spiritual works as illuminated by scientific and medical writings, natural philosophy and theology, and the visual arts. In extending and challenging contemporary bio-medical perspectives through the insights and methodologies of the arts and humanities, the volume offers a timely intervention within the wider project of the medical humanities.

Item Type:Book
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF (Chapter 2: Behold! The Voices of Angels: Narrative, Audience and Affect in Eadmer of Canterbury’s Breviloquium Vita Sancti Wilfridi)
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
Download PDF (Chapter 5: Thinking Fantasies: Visions and Voices in Medieval English Secular Writing)
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Publisher statement:© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021 Chapters 2 and 5 are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( For further details see license information in the chapter
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:03 February 2021
Date of first online publication:12 December 2020
Date first made open access:03 February 2021

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