Session Title

Representations of Pilgrimage in Late Medieval Literature

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Susan Dunn-Hensley

Organizer Affiliation

Wheaton College

Presider Name

Thomas D. Hill

Presider Affiliation

Cornell Univ.

Paper Title 1

Piers Plowman and the Invention of Pilgrimage

Presenter 1 Name

Benjamin Weber

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Wheaton College

Paper Title 2

The Womb and the Throne: Merging the Domestic and the Dynastic in the Pynson Ballad

Presenter 2 Name

Susan Dunn-Hensley

Paper Title 3

"The Infinite Sweep of Past and Future": Envisioning Eternity in Newberry MS 32

Presenter 3 Name

Logan Quigley

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame

Paper Title 4

Rascals, Ruffians, and Restoration: Pilgrimage and Picaresque Novels in Spanish Literature

Presenter 4 Name

Sharenda Barlar

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Wheaton College

Start Date

9-5-2019 10:00 AM

Session Location

Sangren 1720

Description

Pilgrimage serves as a powerful metaphor for the Christian life on this earth – enacting as it does the painful journey down difficult roads, which ultimately leads to a holy place. Shrines thus not only serve their specific spiritual function, but also operate as earthly models of the celestial city. Despite this fact, the pilgrims’ motives were not always entirely – or even primarily – spiritual. As Simon Coleman observes in an article on the restored Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, the shrine appears “deeply ‘impure’ in its mixture of relics, religious props, a kitschy gift shop, but also in the sheer incoherence of the vision of Christianity that it presents” (2016). While this description certainly fits contemporary pilgrimage sites with their mix of sacred and secular, ruins and reconstruction, medieval and contemporary, the description also proves apt for the medieval iterations of these shrines. Pilgrims took to the roads for many diverse reasons – some desired penance or healing; others undoubtedly wished to travel or to participate in a cultural rite. Even those who ran the Shrines did so from a range of motivations spanning the sacred and the profane. After all, the promotion of the local economy cannot be separated from a shrine’s holy mission. Just as contemporary anthropologists argue that the “tourist gaze” can shape areas that receive significant income from tourism, so too, the pilgrim / tourist gaze must have shaped culture in the areas surrounding important shrines. Thus, the act of pilgrimage proves deeply conflicted, opening it up to severe criticism even before the Reformation.

Our session means to interrogate the conflicting meanings of pilgrimage. We wish to consider pilgrimage as interaction with the sacred, as well as with the natural world. Our session will consider whether or not the spiritual side of pilgrimage can be (or should be) entirely separated from more secular motivations such as the desire for adventure.

This session asks: “What is true pilgrimage?” What was the relationship of the pilgrim to place and natural environment? What did pilgrims seek as they took to the roads? How did pilgrimage affect the communities around the shrines. Susan Dunn-Hensley

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 9th, 10:00 AM

Representations of Pilgrimage in Late Medieval Literature

Sangren 1720

Pilgrimage serves as a powerful metaphor for the Christian life on this earth – enacting as it does the painful journey down difficult roads, which ultimately leads to a holy place. Shrines thus not only serve their specific spiritual function, but also operate as earthly models of the celestial city. Despite this fact, the pilgrims’ motives were not always entirely – or even primarily – spiritual. As Simon Coleman observes in an article on the restored Shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, the shrine appears “deeply ‘impure’ in its mixture of relics, religious props, a kitschy gift shop, but also in the sheer incoherence of the vision of Christianity that it presents” (2016). While this description certainly fits contemporary pilgrimage sites with their mix of sacred and secular, ruins and reconstruction, medieval and contemporary, the description also proves apt for the medieval iterations of these shrines. Pilgrims took to the roads for many diverse reasons – some desired penance or healing; others undoubtedly wished to travel or to participate in a cultural rite. Even those who ran the Shrines did so from a range of motivations spanning the sacred and the profane. After all, the promotion of the local economy cannot be separated from a shrine’s holy mission. Just as contemporary anthropologists argue that the “tourist gaze” can shape areas that receive significant income from tourism, so too, the pilgrim / tourist gaze must have shaped culture in the areas surrounding important shrines. Thus, the act of pilgrimage proves deeply conflicted, opening it up to severe criticism even before the Reformation.

Our session means to interrogate the conflicting meanings of pilgrimage. We wish to consider pilgrimage as interaction with the sacred, as well as with the natural world. Our session will consider whether or not the spiritual side of pilgrimage can be (or should be) entirely separated from more secular motivations such as the desire for adventure.

This session asks: “What is true pilgrimage?” What was the relationship of the pilgrim to place and natural environment? What did pilgrims seek as they took to the roads? How did pilgrimage affect the communities around the shrines. Susan Dunn-Hensley