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Products for grant FEL-257802-18

FEL-257802-18
Hospitals and Literary Production in England, 1350-1550
Nicole Rice, St. John's University, New York

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FEL-257802-18

Devotional reading and display at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Devotional reading and display at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London
Author: Nicole R. Rice
Abstract: I focus here upon the work of one prolific scribe: John Cok, an Augustinian priest and brother of St. Bartholomew’s by 1421. In keeping with the aims of the 2018 Symposium, I consider the crucial importance of visual display and design in one of Cok’s books, a small Latin devotional collection (now BL MS Additional 10392), as a means of linking penance, prayer, and meditation for individual or shared reading. I ask what this book might teach us about Cok’s pastoral and spiritual life within St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and how we may understand his copying as attuned to the overlapping needs of religious and lay readers residing there.
Date: 7/16/18
Conference Name: Harlaxton Medieval Symposium

The Corruption and Purification of Women at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Corruption and Purification of Women at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London
Author: Nicole R. Rice
Abstract: I want to suggest that the treatment of women is central to the literary history of St. Bartholomew’s. The dynamic of contamination and purification that always attends the hospital, in its liminal location, is urgently embodied by women, with their inherent physical and mental weaknesses. Today I briefly consider the treatment of women in two works probably written around the turn of the fifteenth century: a Middle English religious narrative (The Book of the Foundation of St. Bartholomew’s Church), and a Latin medical compendium (Breviarium Bartholomei, or the Breviary of Bartholomew). My discussion juxtaposes the Book and Breviarium on the topics of losing and regaining, or at least simulating, virginity. I argue that while the priory’s foundation narrative represents women as vulnerable to sexual contamination that is exacerbated by the hospital, and can only be purified by a flight from sexuality, the hospital’s medical text offers a much more nuanced view of the sexual lives of single women. In these two works we see competing views of virginity: on the one hand, as a “treasure” that once lost, can never be regained, and on the other, as both a physical state and an ongoing social performance.
Date: 4/14/18
Conference Name: NYU Medieval and Renaissance Center Conference, Spring 2018


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