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Founded in 1415, the double monastery of Syon Abbey was the only English example of the order established by the fourteenth-century mystic St Bridget of Sweden. After its dispersal at the Dissolution, the community survived in exile and was briefly restored during the reign of Mary I; but with the accession of Elizabeth I, some of the nuns and brothers once again sought refuge on the Continent, first in the Netherlands and later in Lisbon. This volume of essays traces the fortunes of Syon Abbey and the Bridgettine order between 1400 and 1700, examining the various ways in which reading and writing shaped its identity and defined its experience, and exploring the interconnections between late medieval and post-Reformation monastic history and the rapidly evolving world of communication, learning, and books. They extend our understanding of religious culture and institutions on the eve of the Reformation and the impulses that inspired initiatives for early modern Catholic renewal, and also illuminate the spread of literacy and the gradual and uneven transition from manuscript to print between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries. In the process, the volume engages with larger questions about the origins and consequences of religious, intellectual and cultural change in late medieval and early modern England. E. A. Jones is Senior Lecturer in English, University of Exeter; Alexandra Walsham is Professor of Reformation History, University of Exeter Contributors: E. A. Jones, Alexandra Walsham, Peter Cunich, Virginia Bainbridge, Vincent Gillespie, C. Annette Grise, Claire Walker, Caroline Bowden, Claes Gejrot, Ann Hutchison
The Boydell Press
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