The Gift of Julian of Norwich
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― Julian of Norwich
This is a charming gift book with Illuminations of some of St. Julian of Norwich's most well-known "shewings." Her 14th Century collections of meditations and observations is said to be the first book written by a woman in English. Julian asked God for an experience of illness and nearness to death in order to understand life more fully. In the midst of illness, she had an incredible experience of divine love. Not much is known of her life but she is thought to have been an anchoress, a mystic enclosed in a Church setting and committed to a life of prayer.
"He is our clothing,
that for love wraps around us,
drapes around us for tender love,
that he may never leave us.
And so in his sight
I saw that he is everything that is good,
as to my understanding."
Editor/translator Karen Manton does a creditable job of putting the work in context for the contemporary reader. Julian's world is far distant from our own, yet her "shewings" remain compelling. Illustrator Lynne Muir's calligraphy and illustration recall manuscripts of Dame Julian's day.
Later: I appreciated the thoughtful commentary as well as Julian's own writings, all enhanced by the beautiful illuminations. Really wonderful book!
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