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This is the first literary study of the career of Richard Rolle (d. 1349), a Yorkshire hermit and mystic who was one of the most widely-read English writers of the late Middle Ages. Nicholas Watson proposes a new chronology of Rolle's writings, and offers the first literary analyses of a number of his works. He shows how Rolle's career, as a writer of passionate religious works in Latin and later in English, has as its principal focus the establishment of his own spiritual authority. The book also addresses wider issues, suggesting a new way of looking at mystical writing in general, and challenging the prevailing view of the relationship between medieval and Renaissance attitudes to authors and authority.
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