Life in the Medieval Cloister

Life in the Medieval Cloister - Julie Kerr Is it an adage that the extraordinary and calamitous is what tends to make it into the historical record? This book, therefore, is somewhat filled with collapsing roofs, corrupt abbots, pregnant nuns, criminal monks, hallucinations, suicides, things catching fire and a really extensive collection of unpleasant illnesses. Its a bit of a puzzle to piece together what was actually ordinary daily life, not to mention finding the gap between the rules of what was supposed to go on (nothing leavened by singing) and what actually went on in the regular course of things (shenanigans!)

Particularly striking for me, aside from the amazing love for for drawing blood (who came up with that?!) was how deeply god was in everything to them. Nothing was ever mere chance or plain unrelated, in a way that sounds frankly like wishful thinking pretty often, but maybe illuminates how deeply incomprehensible everything, from the weather to the body, must have been. A world without explanation or coincidence.

Interesting throughout, and with refreshingly straightforward, clear and accessible writing, especially for a fairly academic work. Not sure how thorough it is or where it fits into the scholarship of the subject, but perfect for my needs in fleshing out a praxis for a character in a fantasy book ;-).