1st Edition

Lives of Spirit English Carmelite Self-Writing of the Early Modern Period

By Nicky Hallett Copyright 2007

    Nicky Hallett has uncovered a major new source of material by and about English nuns living in exile in the Low Countries during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This volume presents the women's voices in unmediated form, direct in all their vibrancy, with an extensive introduction that provides historical and cultural contexts for an understanding of the Lives, their sources and their authors. Lives of Spirit draws upon several remarkable sets of papers compiled in enclosed convents between 1619 and 1794. These documents show that religious women developed an astute system of auto/biographical practice within a protean political situation, and that, even in exile and from within enclosure, they sought to shape a distinctive contribution to devotional change within a reforming church. This volume reveals how the women's Lives challenge, as well as affirm, notions of gendered spirituality, refiguring traditions of female life-writing that extend from Catherine of Siena (1347 - 80) through the work of the Carmelite reformer, Teresa of Avila (1515 - 82), into the later modern period. The newness of the material in this book allows a radical reappraisal of the self-representation of religious women and of paradigms of life-writing in, and beyond, the early modern period. This book is of significant interest to scholars interested in early modern women's writing, female spirituality, and auto/biography more widely as a genre.

    The Early Modern Englishwoman 1500–1750: Contemporary Editions General Editors’ Preface; Acknowledgments; General Introduction; Editorial Note; Sources and Abbreviations; Chapter 1 The Inspiration to Compose; Chapter 2 Anne of the Ascension, First Prioress at Antwerp; Chapter 3 Teresa of Jesus Maria, Sister of Anne of the Ascension; Chapter 4 Margaret of St Francis; Chapter 5 Anne of St Bartholomew; Chapter 6 Catherine of the Blessed Sacrament; Chapter 7 Anne of St Teresa; Chapter 8 Agnes of St Albert; Chapter 9 Clare of the Annunciation and Delphina of St Joseph; Chapter 10 Anne of St Maria and Tecla of St Paul; Chapter 11 Anne of the Angels; Chapter 12 Paula of St Joseph and Alexia of St Winefrid, Two of Anne Somerset’s Entourage; Chapter 13 Anne of St Bartholomew and Mary Teresa of Jesus; Chapter 14 Francisca of the Blessed Sacrament; Chapter 15 Mary Frances of St Teresa; Chapter 16 Teresa Joseph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; Chapter 17 Clare Joseph of Jesus Maria; Chapter 18 Mary Margaret of the Angels; Chapter 19 Winifred of St Teresa; Chapter 20 Anne Maria Joseph of St Xaveria; Chapter 21 Mary Joseph of St Teresa; Chapter 22 Teresa de Jesus and Ann Joseph of the Ascension; Chapter 23 Mary Magdalen of St Joseph; Chapter 24 Mary Xaveria of the Angels; Chapter 25 Mary of St Barbara; Chapter 26 Angela Maria of St Joseph; Chapter 27 Mary Margaret of the Angels; Chapter 28 Mary Xaveria of the Angels; Chapter 29 Mary Margaret of the Angels; Chapter 30 Margaret of St Teresa, the First Prioress at Lierre; Chapter 31 The Lives of the Mostyn Family; Chapter 32 The Lives of the Bedingfield Family; Chapter 33 Mary Gertrude of the Annunciation; Chapter 34 Mary Magdalen of Jesus and Agnes Maria of St Joseph; Chapter 35 Mary Terease of Jesus; Chapter 36 Anne Teresa of Jesus; Chapter 37 Marie Teresa of St Albert; Chapter 38 Teresa Maria of Jesus, Mary of St Joseph and Elizabeth Ursula of the Visitation; Chapter 39 Anne Therese of the Presentation, Anna Maria of St Joseph and Joseph Teresa of the Purification; Chapter 40 Mary Rose of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;


    Nicky Hallett is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English at the University of Sheffield, UK. She co-founded and jointly directs a Centre for Gender, Sexuality & Writing. She has written several studies about early modern female religious communities, as well as work on Chaucer, contemporary literature, self-writing and gender.

    ’These Carmelite documents are largely unpublished and have been hitherto inaccessible to lay scholars: Hallett is to be congratulated on obtaining the permission of present-day Carmelites to publish these lengthy extracts as they will be of considerable interest to the wider scholarly community... the final result for the reader is a series of individual lives brought together with insight and empathy, clarified by explanatory footnotes where necessary... In a most useful Appendix we are given extracts of the Constitutions and Rule of St Albert another text which is not easily available but which formed the bedrock of conventual life... We look forward to promised future volumes.’ Historians of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland ’This book is a useful resource, not only for the history of the Carmelites, or that of early-modern religious or female religious, but for an understanding of how the Life of the Spirit was expressed in the lives - and deaths - of women.’ Carmelus