Anchoritism and the Everyday: The Sacred-Domestic Discourse in the Ancrene Wisse

Christopher Roman


Anchoritic discourse addresses spiritual and domestic space as existing simultaneously in the same physical space, breaking down any boundaries between purely discrete spaces and indicating the nature of the anchorhold as one where the space of the household and that of the spiritual domain converge. In the Ancrene Wisse, this is not simply manifested in the material realm but also comes to define the physical and spiritual space of the anchoress's body as she both encloses and is enclosed by Christ: she must prepare a space for him in her heart, while she looks into his wound and begins to understand how her heart is drawn to his.

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