Ancrene Wisse

Ancren Riwle

Ancren Riwle (äng´krĕn rē´ōōlə) or Ancrene Wisse (äng´krĕnə wĬs´ə) [Mid. Eng.,=anchoresses' rule], English tract written c.1200 by an anonymous English churchman for the instruction of three young ladies about to become religious recluses. The work, important as a sample of early Middle English prose, is a charming mixture of realism and humor, didacticism and tenderness. It is also important for its depiction of the manners and customs of the time. French and Latin versions of the work are also extant.

See edition by J. R. R. Tolkien (1962); study by A. Zettersten (1965).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Ancrene Wisse: Selected full-text books and articles

Medieval English Prose for Women: Selections from the Katherine Group and Ancrene Wisse By Bella Millett; Jocelyn Wogan-Browne Clarendon Press, 1992 (Revised edition)
Gender and Holiness: Men, Women, and Saints in Late Medieval Europe By Samantha J. E. Riches; Sarah Salih Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Virginal Effects: Text and Identity in Ancrene Wisse"
The Tempter's Voice: Language and the Fall in Medieval Literature By Eric Jager Cornell University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Ancrene Wisse begins on p. 191
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