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Theory and Pilgrimage

(1,775 words)

Author(s): Susan Signe Morrison
Medieval pilgrimage was a religious practice that had many repercussions for society in terms of history and politics (how pilgrims cross borders during times of war, for instance), as well as material culture (church buildings and arts) and written texts (everything from the mass said to pilgrims starting on their journey to fictive poems relating pilgrimage experiences). Theoretical understandings of pilgrimage have most richly emerged from the work of cultural anthropologists. Arnold van Gennep (1909) argued for a three part process in rites of passage, including 1) separati…

Scholarship on Literary Pilgrimage

(985 words)

Author(s): Susan Signe Morrison
It is important to distinguish "pilgrimage literature" from works that describe actual pilgrimages. This article concerns imagined or allegorical pilgrimages. Texts that have been associated with such pilgrimage literature include St Augustine's Confessions, the eighth-century Saxon abbess Hugeberc's Hodoepericon of St. Willibald, various versions of the Quest of the Holy Grail, St Bonaventura's Itinerarium mentis in Deum and Walter Hilton's Scale of Perfection, all of which prefigure John Bunyan's seventeenth-century Pilgrim's Progress. Pilgrimage literature domin…