Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

School

School of Commuications and Arts

Faculty

Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Associate Professor Jill Durey

Abstract

The creative content of my thesis has been developed from a personal experience that became the catalyst, and source material for the creative part of the novella All Shall Be Well: Julian and Bartholomew. The essay, and the preface to the creative side, situates the thesis as a work of reflection and memoir combining with creativity, and proposes that threads of beliefs and feelings, represented in the social, and the cultural life of the English fourteenth century, are also relevant to, and for those to be found in contemporary society. This applies particularly to the importance of compassion in society, and emphasises the reality of what it is to be human.The reflective essay contains my own personal experiences, and an alignment, with two characters, their discovery, and the impact that it has had on my own life and beliefs. Wrought in coincidence, it also connects with a childhood life in the county of Norfolk, England, where my two authentic characters are found to be living in close vicinity to one another, at almost the precise time. The anchoress Julian of Norwich lived in a cell attached to the church of St Julian in the city of Norwich, in the latter part of the fourteenth century, and some fifteen miles south east of Norwich lived Bartholomew Edrich, Lord of the Manor in the village of Thrigby.Edrich, my own patriarchal surname, was an ancient Anglo Saxon name, commensurate with the longevity of the Edrich family. As yeoman farmers they have lived in this area throughout the centuries and to the present day. Bartholomew is authenticated by my discovery of his silver seal in the Norwich Castle Museum in 1978. I came to Julian of Norwich, anchoress at the church of St. Julian, in a dance included in the Sacred Circle Dances group, of which I was a member. I was further inspired by her writing, and those who wrote of her, in books bought in subsequent visits to her reconstituted cell. The recovered writing of her book the Revelations of Divine Love, various wills of the period in which she lived, and a reference made, in The Book of Margery Kempe, to a visit made by Margery to Julian in her cell in 1415, establishes her authenticity.In the essay I have observed and written of medieval living conditions, noting the dramatic weather and health changes that caused much loss of life, and with great human suffering. This has been the background for the meeting of two historical personages, Julian and Bartholomew. An accompanying fictional story draws on their roles, as people caught in a violent situation, where there is the need for a listening ear, and prayerful response; for such was the role of an anchoress, or anchorite, of that period. It has recently been suggested that role to be similar to contemporary counselling, even that of psychotherapy.Implicit in this thesis is the conclusion that suffering engenders compassion, the feeling that one suffers with another, in understanding and love. This is, I feel, an important thread connecting the medieval, and, a contemporary society. For a population suffering immense changes today, as in the medieval period of the fourteenth century, implies that Julian’s message, of the motherhood of God, His love for his creation in His understanding and compassion for sin, and His message of hope, is proof of her popularity and of a recognised need of the contemporary human. I acknowledge a sense of pride that my family name existed then, and can be found in the same area today, and that they are a vital part, that recognises in the story unfolding, a continuity of the name, and of the family’s genetic qualities.

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