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The Secret WithinHermits, Recluses, and Spiritual Outsiders in Medieval England$
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Wolfgang Riehle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451096

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451096.001.0001

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(p.298) Conclusion
The Secret Within

Wolfgang Riehle

, Charity Scott-Stokes
Cornell University Press

This book has explored mysticism in medieval England by drawing on the underlying theological tradition and the wider European perspective. It has shown that more attention must be devoted to the vivid exchange of ideas, which reflects an astounding medieval mobility in spite of the great difficulties of travel. Richard Rolle, for example, can be viewed and evaluated more fully in the light of this mobility. Rolle and Henry Suso are among the first male mystics to describe celestial sweetness, divine fragrance, heavenly song, and mystical dance. The book concludes with a discussion of solitary life in medieval England and its connection to spirituality, along with spiritual freedom as the primary motivation for the hermits and anchorites to retreat from contemporary society. Finally, it considers the element of sweetness in relation to “singular” English piety.

Keywords:   mysticism, England, Richard Rolle, solitary life, spirituality, spiritual freedom, hermits, anchorites, sweetness, piety

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