Citation
Songs of silence

Material Information

Title:
Songs of silence
Creator:
Brunetti, Claire F
Copyright Date:
1991
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Divinity ( jstor )
Femininity ( jstor )
Mysticism ( jstor )
Mystics ( jstor )
Nuns ( jstor )
Rhetoric ( jstor )
Soul ( jstor )
Spiritual love ( jstor )
Tears ( jstor )
Women ( jstor )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact the RDS coordinator (ufdissertations@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
AJC6984 ( LTUF )
25605089 ( OCLC )
0027013728 ( ALEPH )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text












SONGS OF SILENCE: THE AFFECTION FOR BRIDE AND BODY
IN THE RHETORIC OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, MARGERY KEMPE, AND TERESA OF JESUS















By

CLAIRE F. BRUNETTI


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED) TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFItLLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1991


































Copyright 1991


by


Claire F. Brunetti







































For My Family















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank the English department of the University of Florida for their willingness to sponsor my research into the rhetoric of Christian mysticism. For his expertise, wisdom, and guidance, R. A. Shoaf has earned my deepest gratitude. I am indebted to Marie Nelson who not only encouraged my exploration of the contemplative dimension and gave in-depth commentaries on the various stages of these chapters, but also shared her own rhetorical work as she wrote it. To a brilliant and most professional professor, Don Ault, I owe my "aultered" reading perceptions as well as frequent inspirational conversations. I also appreciate the thoughtful readings of Ira Clark and his knowledge of sacred writings.

My special thanks goes to the Wobmen's Studies group of the

university, whose Tybel Spivak scholarship enabled the completion of this research within may limitations of time.

Various other individuals have aided may research. For his letter of introduction to the Carmelites of Spain, I thank John Snyder, Bishop of St. Augustine. 'To Baltasar Fra-Molinero I am grateful for his expertise in the literature of Spain. For the wonderful illustrations, I thank Clifford Brunetti, my son. For his readings, useful suggestions, and his patience, special thanks go to my husband, Michael.

















TABLE OF CONTENTS

2page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . iv ABSTRACT . vi INTRODUCTION . 1 CHAPTERS

1 SENSE OF SILENCE: ST. BERNARD'S RHETORICAL KISS . 20 2 SOUNDS OF SUBVERSION: MARGERY KEMPEIS UNORTHODOX WEEPING . 76 3 SWORD OF SILENCE: THE CONCEPTIONS OF ST. TERESA OF AVILA . 128 AFTERWORD . 199 WORKS CITED . 209 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . 216
















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SONGS OF SILENCE: THE AFFECTION FOR BRIDE AND BODY
IN THE RHETORIC OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, MARGERY MTE, AND TERESA OF JESUS

By

Claire F. Brunetti

December 1991

Chairman: R. A. Shoaf
Major Department: English


The erotic implications of the Song of Songs provide the rhetoric for the Christian affective tradition of "love." The allegorical reading of Christ as Bridegroom and soul as Bride participates in two reflexive processes: the silent body's way of knowing and the cultural process of rendering. Knowing through the body involves spatial movement: vertical regard, horizontal socialization, personal containment, and birthing process. Cultural rendering imposes dichotomies of value on these movements. Within such dichotomies, the mystics formulate persuasion advocating the audience's and their own gender transference and depend upon body knowledge as a source of appeal.

The purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, it records the cataphatic "love" language directed at Christ's body which mystics from three different centuries employed. Second, it shows the metaphorical patterns of the rhetoric as a process by which language










provides a sensual experience of myth shared by genders and cultures via sexuality. Though speculations of an origin of the "mystical union" experience are explored, the issue of "divine", presence remains open since this study is literary, not theological.

Beginning with St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), whose

Sermons on the Song of Songs appropriate the female metaphor of the Bride, erotic rhetoric effects Christian conversion. Bernard's "kiss"

sermons weave rhetorical strategies with his mysticism. Margery Kempe's (1373?-1440?) spiritual autobiography cries out the effects of the Bernardine tradition. Margery's visionary life with Christ together with her subversive tears ease the birth of her rhetorical autonomy. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) persuaded her nuns in Meditations on the Song of Songs to experience God on their own. She altered their perspective fran brides to children sucking at the

breasts of God and to men using the "sword of contemplation."1 The metaphoric patterns used by these three imply creativity as a repeated allegory of Genesis which blames the woman for forbidden sexuality.















INTRODUCTION

The rhetoric of Christian mysticism, i.e. contemplation, has been at the root of controversy since the first century. Detractors have charged mystics with heresy; they have seen mysticism as a sensual form of demonic possession, a psychological instability such as hysteria or a means of orgasm, and have identified it as elitist or eccentric, which uses an emotionally based language rather than an intellectually based one. Individuals identified as Christian mystics have firmly claimed that they are true Christians, that they draw their inspiration from an sensual knowledge of divinity, accessible to any person, regardless of gender, age, status, race; that theirs is a divine rhetoric and, as such, is a political weapon. The controversy remains unresolved, and indeed is itself one min reason for the continuing interest of theologians and historians--and now psychologists, cultural anthropologists, linguists, phenomenologists, and genderists as well. Manuscript discoveries of the 1930s, followed by more recently introduced approaches to the early texts to be considered here provide, as would seem immediately apparent, reason for further controversy. That further controversy, examined with close attention to the language used by disputants, can provide opportunity to exercise our ability to question customary pronouncements of

meaning.

The rhetoric to be examined here is that of individuals who lived in Christian communities. The texts to be considered have been








2

conserved by Christian religious groups. This, however, does not mean that the only lessons to be learned from those texts must be learned by readers who are themselves devoted primarily to the greater glory

of God. Granted, this was the overt intention of Bernard of Clairvaux, Margery Kempe, and Teresa of Avila, but texts have a certain indeterminacy. They reflect, often without their writers' intentions that they should do so, the cultures in which they were composed as well as their authors' particular sensibilities. And consideration of affective mystical literature can be especially challenging with respect to the relationship between the individual who writes and the culture in which s/he lives. Mystical literature reaches beyond culture even as it reflects it, because it expresses and extends love to the communal universe of sound through the parallel silent universe "single song" of the individual.

The body sings itself, and the vehicle of its tenor is often

Christ's own body. For corporeal lyrics, affective Christian mystics turn to the Song of Songs, unanimously agreeing on its beauty and its inspired source. By using the Song, they continue its eroticism but brace it with a spiritual interpretation. Their compositions thus become paradoxical, and their paradoxes become grounds for controversy.

The Song permits at least two allegorical readings. The first

holds that Christ is the Bridegroom and the soul is the Bride; while the second, also well established by tradition, holds that the communal church is the Bride. One problem with either interpretation is that the function of the Bridegroom is to sexually consummate








3

union, and the tradition of Christ is that though his gender designation is "male," he is not sexually active. Another problem is the language's encouragement of sexual desire while the patristic tradition simultaneously labels such desire as "carnal," which my only be tolerated for the propagation of the species. A third problem is gender-specific. How is a man who loves Christ to express corporeal love without homo-eroticism becoming an issue of the language? How does a married woman, no longer allied with her own husband, express corporeal love without recourse to the remembered intimacy of married life? How does a virgin with little practical experience with intimacy express corporeal love? These are some of the problems of expression built into the affective Christian mystical literature.

Perhaps the greatest problem with which a writer on the

literature of "mysticism" must deal, however, is a definition of the term itself. Mysticism may be defined as a secret knowledge of God, as love of God, or as a receptivity to union with God during me's life. The closely related word, "contemplation" will be used as a near-synonym for "mysticism" here because it carries such meanings as "being aware of," "looking at" divinity, and meditating on God with "attention and thought." Thus, as a mystical action in Christianity, contemplation partakes of the love which is God. God is a priori to mystics, and here at least they are undeniably within the confines of Christian faith. Within Christian theology, God is the first person of the trinity and the creator. What mystical theology adds is description of ways to God. Untrained in these ways, any person may have a unitive experience precipitated usually, though not always, by








4

nature, music, ritual, sex, or words, in any surroundings, among

people or alone, during routine or intense activity. It is usually of short duration but leaves a lasting longing in the mystic for a permanent experience.

Persons trained in contemplation move through stages. Three basic stages are purgation, in which is realized the inadequacy of the human state and the particular knowledge and sacrifice of me's own weaknesses; illumination, by which one is instantly aware of God's logic of love through vision, audition, or intuition; and union, by which the personality is joined by God so that an aspect of divinity is experienced according to the capacity of the mystic. These three stages have been variously divided and categorized through the centuries. In sixteenth-century Spain, St. Teresa of Jesus mapped the mystical way as seven stages: recollection, quiet, union, ecstasy, rapture, pain of God, and spiritual marriage. Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) describes five stages: awakening, purgation, illumination, "dark night of the soul" (which she borrowed from St. John of the Cross), and union.

"Meditation," which may be defined as the exercising of the

mentality concerning an object, is not part of the mysticism to which this study is directed. "Contemplation," however, because of its near-synonymity with "mysticism" itself will receive primary attention. There are two basic forms of Christian contemplation, cataphatic and apophatic. They correspond to the via affirmative and via negative. The first emerges from faith in the innianent God; it is, therefore, oriented toward the incarnation. Subjects of international








5

contemplation range fran the historical life of Christ to fantasies of his body. For instance, the fantasies of the Puritan minister, Edward Taylor, and the conflated myths of William Blake present a lavish poetics of incarnational contemplation. "Immnanence" is taken to man the "in-dwelling," that is, the informed presence of God, whether that be in the mystic's heart or in all of creation. The second form of contemplation is apophatic and seeks God by way of negation, denying that the material world is God, denying human descriptions of God, denying the limitations of space. This form is oriented toward God's

"emanation,"1 that is, toward the hidden God, whether that be coded among the permutations of letters and numbers or by attributes bonded to the elements. It requires the mystic to enter a state of unknowing, a darkness that strips the consciousness of its humanness, of its body, and thrusts it backwards into the cloud of God, who is no thing describable. The roots of apophatic mysticism can be discerned in Plato, Plotinus, and the Pseudo-Dionysius, author of Divine Names and Mystical Theology.

This study focuses on the via affirmativa, on the contemplation of the in-dwelling God. That is, it shows the cataphatic form of mysticism within an affective incarnational tradition. What we human beings know, if the conclusions of Mark Johnson are to be accepted, is always in terms of the body, though what we know is by no mans limited to the body. Our knowledge of the body is culturally

prescribed so we must admit its limitations. One major source of pain and pleasure for the European/American culture, in which I participate, is its belief in love. The two expressions of love which








6

have had the most impact are, first, the God/Christ spiritual expression, and second, the human body's sexual expression. The historical point of intersection is the medieval period when both Christianity and sexuality were institutionalized. So this is my starting point.

With the Reformation came controversy concerning the issue of the individual interpretation of Christianity based on the Bible and experimentation in sexual ethics. Sexual imagery was the metaphor for the workings of grace, and the Song of Songs was its biblical basis. Spain, the country whose culture colored the mystical experience of St. Teresa, cannot be said to have experienced a Reformation. Nevertheless, it still reacted to the questions the Reformation raised. This country's turmoil became a macrocosm of the suppression that individuals were experiencing. Here the wild witch hunts of Spain's northern neighbors were institutionalized by the Inquisition, and hence, as I consider the writing of St. Teresa, discussion of this controversy will enter, even as I attempt to focus primarily on the words she wrote.

But the Reformation also brought a new interest in language. As Aristotle defined it, "rhetoric" was "the faculty of discovering in the particular case what are the available mans of persuasion" (Rhetoric 7). His own influence on the history of rhetoric during the

medieval and renaissance periods way, as Jams J. Murphy claims, have been minimal, but that of Pseudo-Cicero's Ad Herennium is indisputable. Since some of the terms of that work will be useful in discussion of the texts to be examined here, it will be well to define








7

them. Its rhetorical divisions include inventio, dispositio, and elocutio. Inventio, the selection of topic and materials suitable to the audience, the writer, and purpose of the work; dispositio, the arrangement of the work and its proofs; elocutio, the style of the

work as "grand," "middle," and "plain," are the basic divisions of written rhetoric. To elocutio belong the figura of diction, which embellish by means of word appearance and placement, and of thought, which embellish by mans of troping the word into other meanings and ideas. Though the mystics in this study have an unequal formal education in rhetoric, they all employ it because, as George Kennedy writes, "Wherever persuasion is the end, rhetoric is present" (7).

This study, then, makes use of classical definitions in its examination of the written texts of three remarkable Christian mystics: St. Bernard, Margery Kempe, and Teresa of Jesus. It also demonstrates that the rhetoric of those three individuals, despite the differences imposed by their respective cultures, participates in two reflexive processes: the silent bodily process of knowing and the cultural process of gendering. In doing so, it describes the "love" language which cataphatic mystics frca three different countries employed, how they used that rhetoric and for what purpose. Furthermore, this study also attempts to synthesize that rhetorical record as a heuristic device by which we add to our knowledge about the human mind's dependency on the manipulation of words to form sensual impressions impacted by sexuality. Thus it contributes, it is to be hoped, to a history of sexuality that is now being written.








8

It will be prudent to acknowledge that the terminology for

discussing such a history is emotionally charged. "Gender" my not be as layered with distracting connotations as "sex" in determining the biological status of the mystic as male or female. But "male" and "female" activities call for cultural evaluation. This has long been the case. Gregory the Great, for instance, in his world view sets the standard of the "weak female" in close proximity to "flesh" and "sin" while his "strong male" has proximity to "spirit" and "virtue" (Straw 54). The terns "masculine" and "feminine" are also loaded with culturally imposed roles. Masculine men are thought to be big, virile, and action-oriented. Feminine women are self-effacing, delicate, and home-oriented. For example, in Marion Horner's 1968 research 1165% of the women studied showed anxiety over success because they anticipated that success in competitive achievement activity, especially against men, produced social rejection and loss of femininity" (Conn 19). Even

I'man" and "woman" have problems.

Some critics of the language have considered generic "man" to be a fraud foisted upon our society as but another linguistic means to subjugate women. It is, perhaps, not necessary to be this polemic, but, just as deliberately replacing all generic "he's" with "she's', reveals the non-inclusiveness of "he," so does the failure of any man to consider himself included in "woman" shows the reason for objection to generic I'man" and "he.',

If contemporary English presents such problems of reference, it will not be surprising to find that the languages with which the mystic's relationship to the Bridegroom presents particular problems








9

to a twentieth-century reader. These problems are neither insurmountable nor unique. A woman of the fourteenth-century struggling to make herself as important as a man had to deal with age-old, linguistically determined perceptions of hierarchical position. Twentieth-century women have had the benefit of a consciousness-raising movement. Some of our extraordinary predecessors, fictional and historical, however, seem to have gained some of the things we have recently learned through their own individual efforts. It may be that Aristophanes imagined the characters for Lysistrata by inverting the norms, but the Sumerian texts inform us that the "dominant partner" in the hieros gamos (sacred marriage) was the goddess not the god. Henri Frankfort mentions that "texts from Isin leave no doubt that the initiative was ascribed to her" (Stone 137). Political power rested with the priestesses of such goddesses, and their power of persuasion was the sexual act. It takes little imagination to be aware of historical precedent and may even have empowered a few Greek women as the models for Aristophanes' satire on rhetoric. Throughout history status has been part of the issue of rhetoric and gender.

One of the questions I will not attempt to answer here has to do with the issue of whether mystical union, a form of "divine" presence ascertained by the human recipient, is imagined, real, or a fulfillment of psycho-sexual needs. I will say, however, that for Bernard, Margery, and Teresa all of those particulars combine to create an incontrovertible validity to their testimony. Though speculations of an origin of the "mystical union" experience are









10

explored, the issue remains open because this study is dedicated to the scholarly exploration of literature and does rnot attempt theological pronouncenmnt. Since the mind is the translating medium, I do occasionally refer to the God or Cnrist in a mystic's mind. The distinction is made to show the singularity of that mystic's perception as opposed to a communal perception.

The criteria for my selection of St. Bernard of Clairvaux,

Margery Kempe, and St. Teresa of Jesus were standard. In considering the texts that have coume down to us, I have been particularly interested in the influence of the Song of Songs, in the affective tradition as differing fran the scholastic tradition, in the cataphatic approach as differing from the apophatic, in persuasiveness as measured by effect on the culture, in originality in

modifying the Song's tradition, and in the mystics' age, status, and gender. The selection was, thus, narrowed from the wealth of the world's mystical literature and religions to focus on the cultures with which I am most familiar. Some extraordinary mystics had to be eliminated, Julian of Norwich, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Meister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, William Blake, Edward Taylor (whose inclusion would undoubtedly spark controversy), and others.

In surveying the criteria, I noticed two biases related to

maturity: (1) a mystic's credibility is assured with age, and (2) the creative energy of mature people is regarded as odd. For instance, the

aged Margery was known for her healing, especially of women suffering postpartum trauma. People turned to her for her prayers when they were in trouble. But as a younger woman, she was despised and ridiculed.








11

Descriptions of the mystics remark on the unusual amount of energy they displayed in their older years, as if older adults were not known for such energy. For instance Teresa's biographer includes the comments of a nun contemporary with her; "She was never idle," quotes E. Allison Peers (Mother 214). Perhaps, the astonishment at the energy of Teresa and the other mystics is reactionary to the ca=nplace of contemplative passivity to which Evelyn Underhill refers when she remarks: "We see already how far astray are those who look upon the mystical temperament as passive in type" (49).

Consideration of the two biases leads to questions arising from the other criteria--status and gender--and the related question of aesthetic judgment. Originally, the status of the mystics was not a high priority, but I noticed an emphasis on status in the texts. The question that developed was: Does status have anything to do with their experiences and need to communicate? It definitely affects their believability. In most marriages of the past, the individual did not exist; the partners became one body in Christ, and the head of that body was the man. The woman's head disappeared. Individual freedom, though, has a way of asserting itself; literature is one of such 'ways. Since St. Bernard is the summit of the affective tradition, and he appropriated the female metaphor of the Bride, I wondered how women would treat it. The female variations on Bernard's metaphor show the mystic as bedded spouse, confidante, and nursing child to Christ, the mother. Finally, how much effect does the gender of a mystic have on the community's opinion of the reliable quality of that person's literature? Not surprisingly, women's literature has been generally








12

degraded. Lack of education and traditional roles are the nominal reasons. The quality of the literature seems unaffected by gender, though much affected by education. Symbolic content is similar in all the works, though structural expertise parallels educational level. Rhetorical deployment is equally effective. Political and doctrinal topics are explored in all of the literature. The mystics could be outspoken or enigmatic depending on the strictures of their society. The question, then, of aesthetic judgment is again a perception, as we must acknowledge, conditioned by our culture. Proximity to the apex of Classical Greek culture appears to be the standard by which we judge art. The closer to Dionysiun theology mystical literature moved, the more its beauty is recognized.

For power of persuasion, however, the body rhetoric of affective mysticism cannot be rivaled. Though only St. Bernard and St. Teresa wrote specifically on the Song (Margery Kempe was out of step in that respect), they each assumed the bridal metaphor and the erotic language of the Song. Since Margery's genre was visionary autobiography, she appropriately joined the.Sonqls eroticism to her daily scenes and mixed them with Christ's life. Her mind was itself a reflection of the Song, and she persuaded many others of her revelations about and from Christ. To return, then, to the question of explicit use of the Song, Bernard's.Sermons on the Song of Songs are of foremost importance. Incorporating Origen and St. Augustine, Bernard's rhetorical masterpiece has been the greatest single influence on this tradition. Each of the other mystics knew of Bernard's sermons from sermons and counsel in their own countries. St.









13

Teresa used her Meditations to teach the women under her influence to accept God ' s language the way that they found it and to trust their own judgement. The first negates the accepted teachings on sexuality as source of evil; the second negates male authority of interpretation. Using maternal imagery, Teresa subverted the dicta of the day not to preach or teach, especially from the Song of Songs.

The reader can expect to find a certain inconsistency of expression in this study. At times s/he may find the language over-bold, at others noncommittal. The reasons, as far as I understand them, lie in my personal background and my recent introduction to feminist criticism. As a dual citizen of England and

the United States whose mother was born in Spain, father in England, with an American husband of Italian descent and Francophile tendencies, I have long been exposed to various perspectives, not the

least of which was the duality of religion of my childhood. My elder sister is Anglican according to my father's wishes. My father was a staunch Anglican with Calvinist tendencies; my mother was Roman Catholic and left me in the hands of contemplative teaching nuns for my early educational experiences. As a feminist, I enjoy recovering neglected or forgotten texts and attempt to discover the cultural values implied by female representations. As a dialogic, I see all texts as part of the ongoing discourse among individuals and cultures. As a phenomenologist, I believe that an author's patterns of perception composing that person's reality are within the text. As a deconstructionist, I see the ways that a text turns back on itself

undoing the very themes that my New Critical bent often identifies. As








14

a grateful but unpartisan Freudian, I see the Id as harboring the sexual/destructive urges that present themselves in the Pleasure Principle. As a reader-response critic, I see the gaps in the text that allow for variety of interpretation, but I do believe that it is the responsibility of the reader to submit to what can be learned from close study of an individual text. With the New Historicists I see literature not only as reflecting its culture but also as creating culture, though my bias is toward the individual text rather than amassing a melange. I feel no "shame-faced subjectivity" nor admit to any other bias than enjoying mystical literature and admiring the energy it exhibits. Sexuality is not an embarrassing subject to me, nor is it a particular concern except as it seems to be a source of increasing violence and exploitation in this culture. On a political level, language has ever persuaded by its appeal to our egos but also by its heavily weighted sexual/spiritual components. My approach is to place the writers within their cultures, which I identify as the locus of each; to focus on a particular text, defining its concerns and its risks; to give a close rhetorical reading of that text.

Perhaps, though, an axe must be honed on the

Christian/sexual/political tree of sacrifice. Reading eroticism and political persuasion in a Christian text is an uncomfortable process for a Christian. It has been said that a Christian rhetorician is a paradox, but so is the mystical condition. Th write about the

ineffable, to join body to spirit, these, we are told cannot be done, and so they should be. Denial is not the way of affective mysticism; that tradition is affirmative. This reading may shock us, surprise us,








15

or nauseate us, but we should remember that acceptance is the way of Christian love.

The Christian religion, that practice of following Christ,

emerged from the Hebrew, which itself had a Gnostic tradition as well as a Torah. That gnosis believes that the hidden God, the Sefiroth, underlies all existence. It is the basis for the Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism. One of its myths, attributed to Ptolemy, describes the emanations of the Sefiroth--as Pleroma--entering the world, male and female personified qualities. The female emanation, Wisdom, became overwhelmed with Passion and fell to earth pregnant with substance, a shapeless mass formed from Wisdom' s ignorance, grief, fear, and bewilderment (Pelikan 1:87). The Torah forbids such sins as arising from passion; its negative construction was replaced by the affirmation of Christ whose dual nature, divine and human displayed the prime mystery of our culture. By his hypostatic union, that is, by the act of affirmation which fused his divine nature to a human nature, Christ replaced condemned humanity with the salvation of divinity.

We should further acknowledge that the Hebrew and Christian religions share monotheism with Islam. An essential difference, though, is to be found in the order of human experience and the record--text--of that experience. For instance, the human Mohammed experienced divinity through the revealed Koran. Sufism, Islamic

mysticism, may be viewed as a journey where traveller, way, and destiny are one. The world is merely a stopping place for the traveller who receives enlightenment like a flash in the night of his








16

existence (See Figure 1). Hasan al-Basri (643-728), a Sufi famed for jurisprudence, rhetoric, and spirituality, said, "That is a wise man who regards this world as nothing, and so regarding it seeks the other world" (quoted in Smith 176). This mysticism, then, also negates this life in search of the world of heaven beyond. In contrast, again, Christ continually accepts the passion of human beings, accepts their crudities and condemnations, and joins their errors to his own constantly replayed Passion. Thus to Christian mystics, time is ever accessible through the Christ, we need to remember, who is outside time yet historically documented. Past, present, and future are but points on a wheel equally distanced frcm the hub of their minds. Their activities reach out to the rim of history in which they find themselves, but their minds are on the ever-present eternity which fuses past and future in the presence of Christ. Since this text has lasted 2000 years, I would say that it is effective rhetoric. This is the Word that I would read through St. Bernard, Margery Kempe, and St. Teresa.

Since the Word itself is a metaphor for Christ, the chapters

presented here focus on three metaphors of mysticism. All of the texts in this study are from contemplative who practice silent meditation as the focus of their lives even while confirming their societies in vocal worship. Thus, their "songs" are silent. Chapter One explores the "kiss" of St. Bernard's sermons. He distinguishes the "kiss" variously as the Holy Spirit, the breath exchanged by God and Christ in a kiss, the penitent's kiss to the feet of Christ, the gradual grace of a subject who kisses the king's hand, the mystical kiss








17

whereby the contemplative is granted union, and its effects in the intoxicated Bride. In doing so, he presents the bodily means of knowing in term of vertical and horizontal movement as well as containment. Chapter Two shows Margery Kempe's "tears" as her metaphor of grace. Her tears are explored through the lens of Christian tradition and through their subversive effects on her society. Here the bodily means of knowing primarily presents itself in terms of the birthing process of her autobiography which tears lubricate, but also includes the vertical and horizontal visions of Christ above her and in her bed. Chapter Three describes St. Teresa's "sword of contemplation" as a rhetoric of subversion with which she attempts to arm her nuns to read the Song for themselves. She takes her metaphor from the Sonq which shows the Bridegroom's bed surrounded by men holding swords. Disjunctively, Teresa alternates the nuns' identity as men and as the Bride who nurses at Christ's breasts. She also appropriates Christ's mothering from the Song, in the tradition of Bernard, since the Bridegroom brings his Bride to his mother's house. Her.Conceptions show the bodily means of knowing as vertical in reaching up to Christ, horizontal in reaching out for his grace, and containing as they are pregnant with God's truth.

My methods of analysis employed primary resources, critical

responses, cross-disciplinary studies, and a close reading attuned to my "negative capability." Usually I read the mystic's material, selected a work on the basis of its high rhetorical content, its contemplative status, and the singular kinds of readings such texts usually promote. I questioned the text. Why is me word used instead








18

of another? How does the text get me to visualize? What techniques make me respond? What games are played and vhy? I got a quick impression of the text and its messages, then I read what other readers thought. Since I had already formulated an opinion, I was ready for disputation. Detractive pronouncements returned me to the text to which I became more closely attentive. Then I returned to the critical reception and tested the critics by the standards which they applied to the texts.

The results of this approach, as I have used it, seem to be

particularly visible in the chapter on St. Teresa. Here I was able to join my rhetorical questioning of the text, which led to such external conclusions as the recognition that periphrasis, that is an embellishment of a simple idea by means of a circumlocution, was the

most camion trope, with immersion, a technique learned long ago from dramatic studies. I=ersion, the attempt to recreate the mental conditions of the character by attention to place, business, and time, led to further understanding of the mystic's life than I could gain by more analytical means. What I discovered by straightening out the circumlocutions was the Bernadine tradition of the soul as Bride.







19







































'4 , I*Figure 1. Monotheistic Moern Religions















CHAPTER 1
SENSE OF SILENCE: SAINT BERNARD' S RHETORICAL KISS

"Thy lips drip as the honeycomb, my spouse:
Honey and milk are under thy tongue."
(Song of Songjs, 4:11)

LOCUS

Hundreds of sermons and treatises, probably more than a thousand letters, a defense of Pope Innocent II against supporters of Peter Leonis, an address that incited the second crusade, a rule for the Knights Templar, two successful prosecutions of heresies, and a new rhetoric that joined the skills of Cicero with those of St. Augustine, all this is just part of the legacy of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. (1090-1153). But it is in the eighty-six sermons on the Song of Songfs and, in particular, those which deal with the kiss that Bernard forces himself upon our modern consciousness. Here it is that he took up the Platonic split of sexuality from spirituality1 and forged the Christian dilemma: our awareness that "good" entails forcing our sexuality to fall away from unity as if it were ascending stages of a rocketing soul moving towards its spirituality in the celestial hierarchy.

Bernard of Clairvaux is known for his innovative rhetoric; Pope Pius XII dubbed him the "mellifluous doctor" in his 1953 encyclical letter. So honey-tongued was Bernard, in fact, that many critics have been unable to avoid noticing the most persuasive erotic content of

his mysticism. Few go further than that. Those who do are useful, however, because they emphasize by their own rhetorical dichotomy the

20







21

problematic legacy which the saint has bequeathed to us. Etienne Gilson, Bernardine scholar, attacks an identification of Bernard's

mysticism with the erotic as the very opposite of Bernard's meaning. Ann Astell, an exegetical researcher on the.Song of Songs, displays

the eroticism as a mans by which Bernard united masculine and feminine for a Jungian approach to the whole self, but even Astell

undercuts the erotic component and concurs with Gilson that Bernard did not mean it "that way." Both Gilson and Astell acknowledge that

Bernard's eroticism, then, is an issue; both see it in term definable as a linguistic incitement to lust, and both see its opposition to spirituality.

The erotic language of the mystic does not oppose spirituality, but integrates it. The affective mysticism to which Bernard adhered is a way of perceiving that differs from doctrinal discourse because it makes meaning not through negative laws but through positive movement. He did not condone licentiousness, but sought to heighten the person's spiritual awareness by a sexual awareness of God. Recent critics such as Foucault and Stone show rather that in matters of doctrine, Classical, Hebrew, and Christian leaders broke the spiritual from the sexual in order to assert patriarchal power. Divide and conquer bas been the rule, unconsciously and consciously.

Such distinctions take advantage of what Mark Johnson in The Body in the Mind calls our spatial constructs of understanding. Experiences that we have even before birth include: containment, something as being within something else, which also allows for something outside of the self--an inner/outer scope for understanding; verticality, that knowledge of being up or down, with up being closer to the comforting







22

rhythm of the heart and down being toward the seat of pain or trauma of birth; and borizontality, that sideways umbilical cord connecting our nourishment with its attenuating severance. When sexuality, the rendered experience of maleness or femaleness hormonally governed by a desire to incorporate an in-out plane of experience, is pitted against spirituality, a perception of experience not yet ascribed to the physical senses but supported by an up-down plane of experience and related to vertical cellular organization, the resulting gap causes a yearning for integration. Thus, the splitting itself is an erotic formula. Instead of doctrinally splitting sexuality and spirituality into separate lower (evil) and upper (good) domains, we might conceive of mysticism as a borizontality, an experiential umbilicus pursuing synthesis. The rhetoric of mystical union demonstrates the mystic's subconscious desire to re-integrate sexuality and spirituality in an experience of love impossible to sustain because it involves perpetual attachment and total acceptance of another. Mystics have not spoken of union as a divine rejection of their sexuality. What they have mentioned has been a removal of sensual anxiety. Thus, for them, yearning ceases when integration occurs and resumes when union ends.

The legacy of Bernard, however, would seem to be guilt. Early in his sermons he aroused sexual fantasies of the men toward God and

Christ through appropriation of the Bride metaphor; later, he described human lust as belonging to the sinner. Bernard's rhetoric is experience-based, and the key to opening that experience is the body. Christianity, we might acknowledge, is the only one of the three Western monotheistic religions to translate the abstraction of God








23

into the body at all. Operating within this religious frame, then, Bernard applied the Socratic rule and learned about himself. First, he understood his sexuality; second, he understood his spirituality;

third, he experienced mystical union; fourth, he learned the masterful application of rhetoric.

The written word, of course, is what we have. It therefore seems appropriate, since we are readers of texts, to begin with some conraents on Bernard's language. His initial rhetorical step was to acknowledge a shared condition. For instance he not only addressed the topic of concupiscence, but also identified with it and encouraged it with his vivid language. He did not nip it frigidly the way Origen did, but fanned its living flames with passion. He did not mystically wander among the gardens of God as Gregory the Great did, but pulsed

with a body in a world of men and wcraen. In short, be made language a sensory experience. He is famous, in fact, for his "affective mysticism," known as an approach to God through the affections rather than through logic. Frcra the foregoing discussion, we might suspect "affective mysticism" of using phenomenological knowledge, which itself provides the planes of meaning from which logic draws its propositions. It is Bernard, significantly, who entwined Classical, Hebrew, and Christian elements into the love-rope which has been left dangling since the twelfth century.

To place St. Bernard at the forefront of a tradition requires some critical appraisal. His generally accepted motive for speaking and writing was that he wanted others to know the love of God. The focus of critics then and now presents a dynamic proselytizer and an








24

able apologist. Bernard's mystical rhetoric shows three stages of love: carnal, spiritual, and benevolent. He employed Classical tropes shrouded in Augustinian "reminiscence." His development of the wedding allegory of the Song of Songs embellished the bodily eroticism of the soul as Bride and Christ as the Bridegroom. Of course, the focus of this study will also explore the European conception of a kiss and

foreground Bernard's turns and re-turns to it. The textual discourse, though, will examine the explicit sexual nature of his sermons and the rhetorical tropes he used. Thus, the four components of rhetoric, audience, speaker, subject, and arrangement, function as the components of this inquiry with the first three comprising a reason or container for the last. The way to an integration of individual and culture, we know, must begin with a removal of taboos. Because he is a recognized saint of the Church, the first taboo from which our scholarship should disengage is the analysis of a saint's work. The second taboo to eliminate is that an established theologian would not use erotic persuasion. No scholar has given an individual analysis of Bernard's sermons. Few scholars have remarked on their erotic content without simultaneously describing the viewpoint as inappropriate reader response. Why is it that this rich textual source which may contain some answers for our present woes, especially our cultural relegation of sexuality as evil, unprofessional, amoral, unstable, and definitely non-spiritual, is explored not by academics, but rather by theologians? Since the field of ethics attaches shame to sexuality out of the Greek and Hebrew religious traditions, our culture is generally restrained from treating sexuality as an experiential base








25

for our concepts. Bernard, though, seemed to accept that base and used sexuality as a means of persuasion and an erotic means of knowing the abstract.

In G. R. Evans' translation Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bernard

declared his motivation to be spiritual love, one which be perceived as within a Church tradition:

How I pray that that burning desire and longing in the hearts of
these holy men of old may be aroused in me by these words: "Let
him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth." (215)

The scriptural love rhetoric in this brief selection frcm St. Bernard's sermon 2: "On the Kiss" of the Song of Songs shows the kiss as the most important of all the tropes he used. The "him" in the Song

is the Bridegroom, but Bernard rendered "him" as Christ.

The allegorical connection of Christ to the Bridegroom, though, did not begin with Bernard who followed Origen's lead. E. Ann Matter in The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity sees the allegorical tradition of the lave between God and Israel as being "passed on to Christian exegetes with the canm of the Hebrew Bible" (51). Thus, the Christian allegory translates that love to Christ and the Church.

Etienne Gilson continues that translation when he remarks in The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard that Bernard labeled Christ as "the Kiss par excellence, the Osculum of the Canticle of Canticles" who will be the medium through which mystical "favours" may be attained

(110). Bernard echoed the old I'longing" for divine unity, but specified it more as a reciprocal affection of wills in life-a joining of individual entities through spiritual grace. The human must








26

be able to develop this affection, and Bernard showed the way through the sensual, even "carnal." Bernard designed this fleshly movement of the mind to bring about an awareness of human nature, its capacity and desire for love, as well as its deviation fromi it. He did not try to develop God as love; that was already the premise of the faith that dramatized all true love as divine. Through his kiss metaphor, a sign of adoration or "love,"1 Bernard proposed two senses of love to the medieval Christian world--physical and spiritual. Etienne Gilson addresses both senses in his appendix "The Two Loves Opposed":

The mystic can have no thought of union with God by way
of his body (albeit this body is hereafter to
participate in beatitude) for God is spirit; bu~t in the
order at least of spiritual life which is his, he will
never conceive a union of love which is not, in its own
way, total: Sponsus et Sponsa sunt; love will have
that, or it will be frustrated of what it is impossible
for it not to desire without ceasing to be itself. (192)

He also remarks that "Never did St. Bernard condmi it, for carnal love may be blessed and hallowed by the Church; it is too often forgotten that marriage is a sacrament" (194). In appendix 5, Gilson adds that love was the focus of monastic theology. He says, "The monasteries were equally [with secular schools] schools of love but schools that would teach charity" (200). Carthusians, Victorines, Benedictines and Cistercians2 "all took up the problem of love with a jealous predilection" (3). Specifically for Bernard, Christ was the means to a divine union with the Father which inspired charity. Thus, his community experienced the fruits of love in its social connections. The rhetorical direction of Bernard's kiss, then, leads through the body's movements of containment in his "carnal" love,









27

verticality in his "spiritual" love, and horizontality in his social love.

Historically, Bernard's body-centered mysticism emerges within the traditions of the abstract, God-centered mysticisms of Neoplatonist, Pseudo-Dionysiun, and Augustinian (Butler 130) and the later movement known as the "renaissance of the twelfth century" (Tavard 1) in which the Christological scholastic spirituality of Thomas Aquinas and Richard of St. Victor asserted the "science of contemplation" (Butler 125), not to speak of the thirteenth century's affective Franciscan movement which focused on the crucifixion (Hellmian 42). Bernard, more than these other influential theologians, demonstrated his vivid ethos--that rhetorical part of the speaker's invention which portrays character and provides credibility for his discourse--in the service of spirituality. Bernard, mystic saint and doctor of the Church, employed a powerful rhetoric, not in ethereal or light-flashing terms, not in earth-shaking revelation, not in passionate stigmata, but in the love language of his day, in both his

sermons and writings, in order to persuade others of the exoteric availability of the experience of God and the need for living the life of Christ.

His last and most famous work, though unfinished because of his

death,3 presents an exegesis of the Song of Songs in a series of sermons ostensibly addressed to the monks at Clairvaux, but with the world in mind. It is in Bernard's response to his me~dieval Christian world that the rhetorical element is most obvious. Because audience

influences inventio, that rhetorical action of selecting materials on








28

which to base a persuasive discourse, Bernard selected the Song for its popularity. This Old Testament book bad more monastic commentary than any other due to its theme of love.4 In fact, love was the favorite subject among the theologians who "initiated and conducted the movement" of reform known as the "Renaissance of the Twelfth Century" (Ozment 4, 86-87): Carthusians, Victorines, and the Benedictines and Cistercians. The latter group of Cistercians, organized by Saint Stephen Harding (English monk and abbot of Citeaux), William of St. Thierry and Saint Bernard (Gilson 2-3), was the most important to this study. Not only was the Song crucial to these monks as a group, but it was also of value to Bernard 's close friend, William of St. Thierry. They discussed it at length when in the infirmary together. Later, William was to write his own commentary on the Song, Expositio altera super Cantica Canticorum (Evans, Mind 109). Bernard's response to individuals such as William reflects Ciceronian benevolentia (De Inventione II, 55), a kind of social love which may be described as "disinterested" and reciprocal concern for the good of the friend rather than for self interest (Gilson 10). As an example of this concern, we should note St. Bernard's response to Bernard de Portes' petition "for the text of his first Sermons on the Song of Songs" (Leclercq, On the Song viii).5 A closer look at Bernard's answer shows his incorporation of ethos, considered by Aristotle to be the most important proof (Rhetoric 9). The saint employed humility and affected a naturalness of inventio due to response rather than what might seem to many ascetics as pride. Bernard wrote in letter number 153 (Benedictine tradition):







29

And so I will accede to your importunity, so that you may have no
doubts about miy insufficiency. It is a matter between friends. I will not try any more to spare my modesty, I will forget my own
foolishness in trying to satisfy your demands. I am having copied a few sermons I wrote recently on the first verses of the Song of Solomon . . . I shall continue with them, but you must encourage
me. (letters 229)

Through this letter, too, St. Bernard's request for encouragementnt" ensured a future audience through participation. A Bernardine researcher, Huffer, "estimates the total number of letters written and received by Bernard at not less than a thousand," but Bruno James feels this is a "very modest estimate" (Bernard, Letters xvii). We now have some tangible evidence of Bernard's Ciceronian love as motivation for his rhetorical construction of the "kiss" sermons. His horizontal experiential plane, receiving and sending letters, is the space in

-which be created those sermons.

No one doubts that St. Bernard' s approach to the Song is

rhetorical (by which I mean that it persuades through conscious selection of a topic that suits his audience, arrangement that employs his audience's habits of memory, curiosity, and identification, and style that appeals to sensual and imagistic thinking), and most agree that his approach was innovative, even bizarre. One reason for such an appraisal is the containment of inner rhetorical tension created by Bernard's use of both Ciceronian and Augustinian methods. Many critics cannot agree as to which influence predominates. Bernard actually worked within a continuum of grammar tightly knotted to contemplation.6 Grammar, as distinct from rhetoric, was encouraged

as a means of understanding Scriptures. It was part of the basic medieval trivium, which the 21- or 22-year-old Bernard must certainly








30

have bad before he entered the monastery. Such a classical-based education was "exterior" as opposed to the "interior" monastic schools concerned with spiritual matters and derived from secular schools which were using the literature of Horace, Cicero, and Ovid. Consciously, Horace and Ovid were meant to be left at the monastery door. But Bernard transformed the arrangements and pagan tropes of Cicero by incorporating Augustinian influence in his scriptural models. Until Augustine, early Christian leaders largely avoided Classical rhetoric for two reasons: because of its obvious pagan connections and because of the culturally absorbed Platonic condemnation, such as that noted in the Gorgiias, when Socrates identified oratory as "cookery" (see note 6). Because of their avoidance of rhetorical art, early Christian sermons were merely rambling homilies. Medieval rhetorician, Alan de Lille, for instance, arranged his Summa de arte praedictoria from Cicero's five-part schemata (McKeon 232-3), not from any outstanding Christian schemes.7 St. Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana broke this trend and provided a Christian precedent for St. Bernard. Augustine

identified "two things necessary to the treatment of Scriptures: a way of discovering those things which are to be understood, and a way of expressing to others what we have learned" (Marphy 57). He unabashedly and often referred to Cicero and urged the use of rhetoric to defend the mysteries of the Old Testament (Augustine: Writings 293). He adapted Origen's exegetical method by identifying four ways~] of discovering" as: historical, etiological, analogical, and allegorical (Auq. 294).*8 The "way of expressing" that Bernard adopted was








31

rhetorical "reminiscence,"1 a branching form of memoria that combined Hebrew exegesis with Greek technique, despite the lack of available Aristotelian rhetoric.9 Such a psychologically linked plan of development as "reminiscence" relied on associations and digressions to explain parts of scripture or doctrinal matters (Leclercq, Love 74). Bernard not only applied Ciceronian tropes, but also appropriated Augustinian "reminiscence" for at least sermons 12-17 of the Sermons on the Song.10

Another rhetorical element besides the containment tension is the verticality of Bernard's philosophy in his treatment of the Song. What kinds of language could be employed in the celibate Cistercian setting to both attract and hold his audience? The answer to this question provides a second reason for the appraisal of Bernard's uniqueness-his frank mingling of body and soul. Though he did not recall the body in Origen's Neoplatonic terms as a sensually attractive cell which detained the fallen soul in its attempts at

God,ll Bernard still saw the body in the vertical tradition and practiced the words of St. Paul: "First comes the natural and after that the spiritual" (ior 15: 46). The men who entered the Cistercian community were adults, unlike the children often left among the Benedictines who are used to the dictates of celibacy (Astell 9). Many were married or widowed and were familiar with secular love

litratre12 By adapting the erotic component of the Song, St. Bernard 's language seduced the men 's senses into a desire for a "higher" spiritual form. His language created a physical desire to a point humanly impossible to consummnate since he frequently referred to








32

the inadequacy of human caimitment. He encouraged a hunger for fulfillment only available in divine union. The experience is within traditions of containment, vertical desire, as veil as the rhetoric of ineffability. Though mystics use the "inexpressibility topoin of which Cuxtius speaks (159) to excuse their "inadequate" explanations of the

phencmenon of divine union, Bernard expressed it in his first sermnn to heighten his ethos. His pretense at struggling to "explain" the opening of the Son demonstrates how well he succeeded at explaining it. Very quickly that concern for his own language changed to a constructed ama emnt at the Song' s speaker 's language, which troped again when he emphasized the female's demanding desire for a mouth-to-mouth kiss. He effected the transformation from premature linguistic ejaculation to persistent intercourse when he said:

How shall I explain so abrupt a beginning, this sudden irruption as from a speech in mid-course? For the words
spring upon us as if indicating one speaker to whom
another is replying as she demands a kiss--whoever she
may be. (Bernard, Sermones 3)

Bernard's unique rhetoric showed these mmn the way to God as the feminine way, as the anima of soul which prepares itself with desire and Iipatiently awaits her king. Astell, who notes that such feminizing enabled these men to get in touch with their sensitive and passionate side, draws on Jung for confirmation (11). Certainly, Bernard enabled his audience to integrate their personalities in a wholeness of sexuality through this approach, judging from the enormous growth of the monastic movement which even enlisted husbands and wives in separate facilities. Because the Cistercians were known for their asceticism and sexual suppression, we can determine that his









33

rhetoric was successful. Too, there was a constant need for him to use that rhetoric, to travel outside the monastery walls converting and persuading. His language facilitated the vertical movement Bernard

desired his audience to make from the physical plane of the senses to the spiritual sphere of the soul. Through scriptural "reminiscence,, and sensual rhetoric, Bernard managed an orthodox interpretation of Scripture that well may have had its origins firmly located in the secular love from which it traditionally refrains.

Given Bernard's conscious employment of rhetoric to convince his

monastic community, it seems evident why he did not choose the popular dialectic from among the secular schools.13 Dialectic, in its

exchange of opposing views as a means to "truth," emerged from the logic taught in the trivium. Dialectic's opposition to rhetoric, proves one proposition true while another proves false. The logic of containment, though, presents the unknown in terms of the known--a method Bernard successfully employed in his sensual rhetoric.

Bernard's art lies in his manipulation of sensual concepts, rather than the rigors of debate. But it is doubtful that we can agree with A. Victor Murray, among others, who sees Bernard as unable to compete with an able dialectician such as Abelard (36) even though we might agree that Bernard was untrained. His rhetorical approach beat his opponent's dialectic mercilessly when Abelard was charged with heresy. Furthermore, Bernard's choice of rhetoric over dialectic was his way of choosing faith over reason. Bernard even wrote to Pope Innocent II:

"I thought it unfitting that the grounds of faith should be discussed by human reasoning" (Murray 38). He knew only too well that the








34

mystic's connection with the invisible is questioned by the reasoning of dialectic. Bernard' s use of reminiscence and rhetoric in sermons, unique14 for their artistic and sublime rendering, directly connects

his Christian mystical theology to those techniques found in the Ad Herennium.

Working from a tradition of commentary on the Songf beginning with Origen, St. Bernard's exegetical method, based on Augustine's allegorical means for understanding Scripture, developed15 an unforgettable wedding allegory of union with God (or Jesus) as Bridegroomn and Soul (or Church) as Bride. In fact, his allegory helped

both lay and monastic symbolic maturity. Through audience identification, Bernard energized integration of the individual's masculine and feminine sides, first with the known masculinity of the Bridegroomn then with the feminine anima of the Bride (Astell 94). Allegory and analogy were used, of course, as the chief modes of explanation and discourse in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries.16 The problem for many readers of his Song sermons, we

are informed, is being "carnally-minded. "17 Repeatedly twentieth century theologians and scholars say that twelfth century monks only saw the spiritual analogy of the wedding. Even modern readers are scorned for viewing Bernard 's message in an erotic light and branded as lacking spiritual depth by those applying only vertical planes of meaning. With that brand lighting the way, then, we may persevere in our exploration of Bernard's mystical kiss. From his active life within and without the monastery, Bernard was familiar with his audience. He, as much as the Pseudo-Cicero, wished to have his hearers








35

"attentive, receptive, and well-disposed" (13), so that his topic would be attuned to their perceptons-18 one such perception is the church tradition of interpreting the Song of Songs,19 as a religious model of attraction to God. Bernard continued that tradition. The major contribution of Bernard's exegesis, though, is its exploitation of the Song's erotic comnponent. Ann Astell relates Bernard's eroticism, even as she rakes spiritual correctives. For example, she introduces a Bernardine passage from sermon 61 on the Song by explaining that "the saint actually invites his monks to imagine a seduction scene, dramatizing the lover 's speech for then before discounting it as 'word play" (93). She reveals that Bernard's use of the carnal as "appealing" to these men drew them into "an awareness of their own cupidity," particularly as Bernard rejected the interpretation he persuaded them of as "inappropriate" (94). Bernard's audience, then as now, was caught in a teasing rhetoric that seduced carnally, identified such carnality as sinful, and produced shame and desire for conversion. Sympathy might not be out of place for that "carnally-minded" audience. The monks fell into Bernard's rhetorical net. He was a fisher of men and used the available means to snare souls for God. Today 's audience should be able to recognize his use of carnality without being accused of misinterpretation as Thomas Merton accused Rousselot. Merton, in fact, identified Father Rousselot as a confused great mind when in Rousselot 's Bernard ine cormmntary "He accused the Abbot of Clairvaux of making 'pure love' grow out of cupidity, and all of one piece with it" (169; emphasis mine).








36

Thus, it is Bernard I s knowledge of human lave in all its spatial constructions and shadings that delivers his mystical theology. Drawing from his time's flux a dissatisfaction with the material prosperity of the Benedictines, a dissatisfaction with the sensual life exemplified in literature, and a dissatisfaction with the questioning process of dialectics in scholastic studies, Bernard confirmed an orthodoxy that has persisted for eight hundred years. His mystical experience may be ascertained by his asceticism, Biblical exegesis, preaching, and writing. He approached God and man as a poet-lover. Through the rhetorical seduction of his mystical language,

he moved the listener/reader vertically from the containment of the literally erotic into the metaphysical world of the spiritual, and redirected the divine outward in a horizontally social impulse of charity. In the �2ng of Songs he used an unforgettable metaphor that

not only embodies his rhetorical philosophy, but also his mystical theology. That metaphor is the kiss.

Because of the modern disparagement of erotica and the critical

taboo of placing Bernard in unflattering sexual shadow, we should examine the possibility of secular rhetoric in monastic use during his time. Bernard did not, after all, operate in a vacuum. He himself was contained within a monastic community whose linguistic community bustled with influence moving both ways, inside and outside its walls.

First, we should remember Bernard Is motivation was communal (social) love. Second, we should note the sensual language of the subject

matter he used for exposition-The Song of Songs - Third, we should maintain an awareness of the popular use of love language in the







37

surrounding secular world of St. Bernard. Finally, we should remember that evangelization requires persuasion, occasionally seen historically as synonymous with seduction.

By positioning St. Bernard's sermons on the "kiss" in the Songf of Songs as erotic, we should be aware of the invective that position evokes today. Frequently cited is Bernard' s own twelfth century defense-that motive is everything (Leclercq, Evans 19). Since Bernard's obvious motive-emerging from his social love-is spiritual leadership, few people today even want to entertain the notion that his language is erotic. Gilson feels that carnality is the very opposite of what Bernard espoused, but that statement does not deny Bernard' s use of carnality. Astell feels that Bernard asserted the

carnal in order to dismantle it. Though both critics treat the issue, they are at pains to realign its quality. Still, beginning with the literal we follow the two strands of medieval exegetical thought represented by Nicholas of Lyra (c.1270-1340) who stressed the "literal-prophetic" and Jacques Defe'vre d'Etaples (c.1455-1536) 'who stressed the "literal-spiritual" (Ozment 69). Of course, there is always the argument that explains St. Bernard 's sexually inciting language as due to that identification of the Song of Songs itself:

The songs [a collection of 'love poems')]
assimilated a whole series of lyrical topoi fromn Old
Egyptian love poetry. . . . Very typical of the style
of the Song of Songs are the many repetitions of
individual images and formulae, which Bernard of Clairvaux,
who has a very fine feeling for the style of this poem, interprets as a linguistic expression of the passion of
love. (Riehle 35)

What such people forget is that many other people, before and after Bernard, have comrmented on the Song, yet only he has been consistently








38

named as influencing the course of the affective tradition in Christianity up to our own century. Bernard's "feeling" was so "fine" that be was not beyond exploiting the Song's original eroticism by using its own rhetorical device of paromoesis (repetition). By repeating the "kiss" image Bernard developed the erotic nature of his sermon through prolongation of the sensual. His "feeling," thus, captured the actual nature of the original source. The fact that Bernard's spiritual analogy evolved from Scriptures that bad basis in Egyptian love lyrics has only recently come to light:

Comparatively recent theological research has shown
that the metaphorical language of the Song of Songs is to quite a considerable extent a direct borrowing from
the lyrical topoi of Old Egyptian love poetry.20
(Riehle 3).

The search for love and for ways of knowing have provoked such

research. Influence and persuasion are sexually based, which is but one reason behind the Song's tremendous impact on our culture. Whether Bernard was aware of these ramifications or not, he is the one who

combined that persuasion with spatial conceptual constructs. It was not only the content of love that dictated the form of his sermons, but his knowledge of how humanity could be persuaded to desire and how it could be moved through word selection and arrangement to action.

Some critics have noticed that other monastic rhetoric contains

metaphoric elements in Nonnon with romantic medieval literature. Riehle, for instance, notes:

In addition to the basic stock of metaphors obtained from
the Song of Songs several others were borrowed from the
language of secular lave literature. But in our context we
now have the additional question of whether the contemporary
courtly love poetry did not in some way 'rub off' on
vernacular mysticism. (52)








39

The question as to which way the influence (secular-monastic or monastic-secular) goes has still not been decided, so that the historical possibility of secular influence on St. Bernard cannot be dismissed.21

Monks recorded gifts to the monasteries, and in some cases embellished the sensual persuasiveness pious wives used cii the husbands who contributed. Writings in the monasteries, then, demonstrate a positive connection between feminine physically sensual persuasion and language.22 Another mornk, William of St. Thierry, friend of Bernard previously mentioned as principal in the renaissance of the twelfth century, demonstrated awareness of the containing conceptual plane and acceptance of the sensual nature of language as it calls the soul to listen when he said:

'Hearing involves nothing interior, that is, it does
not function within the body. It is instead, in one way, exterior, that is vibration on the eardrum; it
calls the soul to come out and listen.' . . . Indeed,
spoken language was the tool of evangelization.
(Farmer 540)

Bernard appropriates the power of speech to evangelize just because of his familiarity with its effects on the senses and his awareness of its seduction. Farmer acknowledges this awareness on the part of some of the religious writers:

Following upon a long-standing classical and Christian discomifort with the seductive power of spoken rhetoric,
many of these clerical authors assumed that
speech--like woman herself, and all the other material
attractions of nature-was an enticement, luring the
soul away from its proper relationship to God. However, they also recognized that with the aid of divine grace,
spoken language could change the soul, cultivating it
and directing it towards God. (541-2)








40

As already noted, most critics refuse to connect

spiritual/religious writings with secular products, especially because of the professed antipathy of the former for the latter. Two noted authorities should suffice as representative. Jean Le Clercq discusses the love "cultivated in both secular and religious circles" and asks, "Were there influences between the two? Scholars still debate this

point" (Leclercq, Evans 7). Etienne Gilson writes of this time period: "The schools of Cistercian charity confronted the schools of profane love" (9), and writes of Bernard: "It was a spiritual love, in sharp opposition to every kind of carnal love', (172). Gilson does think that if any connection exists, mystical rhetoric could not have borrowed from the secular; that is "an altogether unjustifiable petitiono principii", (171), but he concedes the possibility of the secular appropriation of mystical language providing it is "established that the courtly conception of love is a sensual interpretation of the mystical conception of love developed by St. Bernard" (179). However there are a few critics who, perhaps, intuit a cross-influence:

Although the authors of religious works condemned
romance, they were sensitive to its sources of appeal.
Hagiography and romance may hold conflicting ideal visions of what constitutes human achievement, but
both genres seek to attract their audiences to their
respective world views. Thus hagiography freely
appropriates fabulous, affective, and dramatic elements from romance when they can make images of the holy life more compelling. 'While tacitly adopting these elements,
religious literature overtly condemns the romances
themselves. (Crane 102)

Susan Crane seems to be speaking to the issue of role models of achievement rather than the sexual elements of the discourse which

both Leclercq and Gilson protest. Nevertheless, she acknowledges a rhetorical cross-influence. Even though Bernard employed exegesis and








41

not hagiography, a closer look at his sermons reveal "fabulous, affective, and dramatic elements" too, so why not sexual? Bernard himself appropriated sensual language at the service of the divine

when he said:

Since we are creatures of the flesh who . . . are
receptive to sensations and thereby form images . . .
[we] understand, through analogy, the meanings of God's
mysteries. (Bernard 33)

Finally, though, Riehle points out that "it is more important to recognize the close links between secular and spiritual literature than to attempt to clarify the question of priority" (55).

The question of connection must first be settled; then priority of influence should be addressed. The issue involves: experience, by what means we interpret the experience, the means we use to express the experience, and the means by vhich that experience becomes accessible; in other 'words, an event takes place, a basis for understanding it is required, a vocabulary for communication is

needed, and a method by which others may acquire such experience is provided. Thus, experience is received and interpreted by the body,

expressed with the body's language, and converted into written signs that sight transfers to the imaginative sphere of the other senses so that the experience might be simulated. But on the question. of St. Bernard's erotic language, we find literary precedence, some critical recognition of it, his own statement of the sensual connection in language, and some recent critical discussion of the secular-spiritual

love connection.

No me doubts the mystical dimension of St Bernard's sermons on. the Song although there are only a few partial analyses of them








42

(notably those of Jean Leclercq and Etienne Gilson, also Thomas Merton and Ann Astell). What those analyses consist of are either background canpositions, proof for theological dogma, or historical tracings of song commentary. Those who do commit themselves to identifying Bernard's language as erotic without undercutting such a cozmitent do not explore his sermons, but merely accept his erotic language as cuonxn knowledge. Few others are willing to place the saint's sermons under the shadow of sexuality. We might mention, though, that the historian, Ernst R. Curtius, does find "an unprejudiced erotic candor even among the higher clergy" in the beginning of the twelfth century and notices the spiritualizing of Eros in Bernard of Clairvaux's work (116-117).
Focus

In order to investigate the spiritualizingg of Eros," as Curtius

puts it, we need to take a closer look at the discussion of mysticism itself. Ozmnant discusses "both 'mysticism' and 'mystical theology.' He says:

The former describes the experience of true mystics,
those who clai to have experienced God intimately. Mystical
theology, on the other hand, describes the learned study of
mysticism by university scholars and the pursuit of mystical
experience by clergy and laity who never actually achieve
it. (115)

Though he provides useful definitions, Ozment does not describe the varieties of union or the different steps experienced by the "true mystics," nor does he entertain, in this definition, that mystical theology also might be pursued by "true mystics." In other words, a person who has visionary or unitive experience might also speculate on the nature of God as Bernard does. If we, however, keep such








43

possibilities in mind, then we may apply both of Ozment's definitions to the discourse of Bernard's language.23

As we traverse mystical and erotic discourse, distinctions

between then occasionally blur. Curtius understood Bernard to have spiritualized Eros, that Greek god of sexual love; Gilson denies it "since mystical love is the negation of carnal love one cannot borrow the description of one to describe the other" (179). Western culture, however, uses the kiss in a variety of ways, joining mystical to carnal. There is a classical statue rendering Psyche kissing Eros which textually connects mind (Aquinas located the soul there) and sexual passion. In Diogenes ILaertius' Lives, a couplet reads:

My soul was on my lips as I was kissing Agathon.
Poor soul! she cam hoping to cross over to him.
(Perella 7)

Besides the Greek, we have many instances of kisses in the Hebrew Bible for respect, affection, and reconciliation. Perella notes, though, that "The only clear mention of the kiss being on the mouth is in connection with the passionate love of the Song of Songs." Christian tradition, on the other hand, shows that the kiss had "a ritualistic and sacramental function fron the beginning" (12). Kisses

to the altar, ring, icons, and to the face in the kiss of peace are just a small sampling. Continuing these traditional definitions ascribed to the kiss as both nonsexual and sexual are those to be found in current dictionaries and encyclopedias. The OED's first definition of the metaphor we are exploring identifies "kiss" as "A touch or pressure given with the lips in token of affection, greeting, or reverence; a salute or caress given with the lips." Within this definition, then, we notice its "gifted" and "affective"








44

characteristics. Associating "reverence" with the kiss, this

dictionary clearly demonstrates the horizontal connection of affection. and religious veneration. The "salute" demonstrates respect for another's authority, so with this usage a vertical hierarchical power structure is invoked. The sensual nature of "touch" must have been immediately noticed, but as an historical entry of its use, the OED recalls the classical distich in its reference to a line frcm

Tennyson's Fatima: "He drew With onle long kiss my whole soul throl My lips." Nicolas Perella's book, The Kiss Sacred and Profanef describes

labial association of eroticism as a Western cultural construction associated with eating and sensations of touch and smell. If we

juxtapose Tennyson's use with Perella's observation, the containment meaning plane neatly integrates spirituality with sexuality.

on the other hand, a camion explanation of the "kiss"

in Brittanica identifies motive as the deciding factor among

the interpretations of affection, greeting, or eroticism:

Whether or not a behaviour is interpreted by society or
the individual as erotic (i.e. capable of engendering
sexual response) depends chiefly on the context in
which the behaviour occurs. A kiss, for example, nay
express asexual affection (a mother kissing a child or a kiss between relatives), respect (as a French officer
kissing a soldier after bestowing a medal on him),
reverence (kissing the band or foot of a pope), or it
may be a casual salutation and social amenity. . . . In
other words, the apparent motivation, of the behaviour
determines its interpretation. Individuals are
extremely sensitive in judging motivations: a greeting
kiss, if protracted more than a second or two, takes on
a sexual connotation. (594)

Frcm this interpretation and with a knowledge of Latin, a reader may readily construe St. Bernard's "kiss" within the motive of friendship,








45

rather than sexuality. In his history of The Kiss, Christopher Nyrop describes the Rcmans as identifying three kinds of kisses with three different words: "oscula, friendly kisses, basia, kisses of love, and suavia, passionate kisses" (8-9). St. Bernard uses the Latin translation of the Song's kiss as osculum, never the other two. The problem with one-to-one definitions, though, is that they fail to acknowledge the plane of meaning in which they are used. We might recall that containment, verticality, horizontality are some of the spatial considerations which we use for understanding. These are the contexts in which Bernard's "kiss" acts, which brings us to the text itself.

Sermons

Specifically, we need to analyze St. Bernard's mystical kiss

sermons themselves to see their spatial employment of the carnal, the spiritual, and the social as erotic rhetoric. There are eight thematically centered sermons on the "kiss" out of the eighty-six sermons on the Song of Songs; they are arranged with a "spiritual" break in the center, a kind of abyss which the mystic must bridge. The first four sermons are "kiss" sermons; the fifth sermon deals with "four kinds of spirits" and makes no reference to the kiss, thereby making a parallel in arrangement with the previous more "fleshly" figurae. The next four sermons, 6-9, return to the "kiss" motif. Further references to the kiss are sparse following these sermons, but som isolated allusions occur in sermons 28, 30-31, 38, and 41.

Bernard's opening sermon on the "kiss" in the Song of Songs emphasizes the stylistic devices of beginning in the middle of the








46

action, the rhetorical ambiguity of the speaker, and the unusual adverbial modifier of the statement: "Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth." Bernard reflects, "What a delightful 'way of putting it! We begin with a kiss, and the lovely face of Scripture readily attracts the reader and leads him on" (Bernard 212). Tob begin in medias res, we may recall, is a classical method which incorporates divinity in the lives of men. Bernard believed that though he was not present at the beginning of God's interaction with man nor at its ending, he was at its mid-point. Calling attention to this method of beginning also recalls that Bernard was addressing monks in the middle of their lives, not in childhood or old age. Knowing that such people everywhere are fascinated by mystery, Bernard crafted his language with veiled references. In fact, ambiguity was a joy for Bernard. He demonstrated a belief that, while we do not know through language, through its imagery we could see "darkly." Bernard's personified use of "face" and his appropriation of contemplation as seeing "in a glass darkly" displays his use of ambiguity as well as his appropriation of traditional mystical rhetoric. In regards to Bernard's reaction to the scholar Abelard, A. Victor Murray notes: "Bernard's chief complaint against Abelard was that he was too clear about the mysteries of the faith" (160). Thus, it is the ambiguity of the speaker's identity in Son that emphasized for Bernard its mystical connection.25 He nn.,st have known fran the Ad Herennium, that employing ambiguity produces emphasis (401). Also, Bernard's use of the "inexpressibility topoi,"1 inherited fran the ancient mystics and verified by Curtius (159-162) forces a separation of those who experienced divine union and








47

entrusted the knowledge through various coding and rites only among the elect,26 especially as the Old Testamient God refused to be specifically named.

That the kiss should be described as "of the mouth" finds its

significance in the "intimacy" of love, which we might identify as the trope periphrasis, which embellishes meaning through circumlocution

(Cicero, pseud. 337), and which Bernard developed scripturally. The rhetorical device began innocently enough with, perhaps, the agreed denotative and Christian sign of affection, but moved gradually under the total control of the speaker as he called into question kisses

that are not "of the mouth" and promoted swerves in his listeners' connotations by connecting their kiss experiences to the speaker's

changed perceptions. Leclercq says that for Bernard

love is the sole object of the sacred texts . . . [and
the Bible's) facts and ideas serve as both pre-text and
pretext for this encounter between two loves: that of
God for man and man for God" ("Intro.," Evans 32).

In his reflection Bernard placed the mouth oni the personified "face" of Scripture. So that, in effect, reader and listener began with the words of God as if they were kissed by him and wanted more. This imaginative and bizarre image appeals erotically through a form of mouth to mouth transfer--a sensual kiss experience-and recalls the Greek distich of Laertius mentioned earlier. No wonder Bernard described it as "delightful." It facilitated his persuasive power to focus on the body part--the mouth--for his express purpose of exciting the experiential level of the senses. Through his use of synecdoche., which demonstrates a whole frcm its part (Cicero, pseud. 339), Bernard wanted to recreate each listener into the Bride, even transferring her








48

emotions through arousal, another rhetorical trope (Cicero 369). Ann Astell and Ernst Curtius, for their own reasons, depend on, Jungian

psychology to describe Bernard's feminine appeal, but they do not really explain the variety of roles Bernard projects for his audience's participation. Just to join the feminine and masculine sides of the monks' psyches does not account for a rhetorical seduction that involves the containment of the Bride within the sole domain of the Groom; the verticality of kisses of submission, respect, and lave; or the elite horizontality of equality only to be found in

the kiss of the trinity. Bernard seemed bent on, awakening the sa Bridal desire found in the Song among his audience, and for that

reason his treatment of the Song is different from those that preceded him.

Why did Bernard want, even subconsciously, to deliver erotic sermons? Why did he amplify the kiss itself? Why did he discuss it

over and over again, dwelling on the point (Cicero, pseud. 375) so much that it was "like blood . . . spread through the whole body of the discourse," as the translation of the Latin describes the trope? These rhetorical figures of embellishment conjure the continued attention of the audience to this strongest of topics. In sermon 2 there is me possible explanation. He perceived his audience's pathetic lack of Christian "ardor" at a time just prior to Christmas.

He said:

When I reflect, as I often do, on the ardor with which the patriarchs longed for the incarnation of Christ, I
am pierced with sorrow and sham. And now I can
scarcely contain my tears, so ashamed am I of the
lukewarmness and lethargy of the present times. . . .









49

In those days a spiritual man could sense in the Spirit
how great would be the grace released by the touch of
those lips. (215)

Briefly noting his feminine sexual "pierced" image which invades his space with "shame" and the emission. of grace fram the touched "lipsn

we may acknowledge him benevolently motivated to fire others with the same kind of love that he felt. He ascribed God's "grace" to the action of the kiss. By that attachment of property to the metaphor, Bernard moved his trope into the sphere of metonymy, expanding the kiss for his audience's intuitive knowledge; "to intuit," says Ozment, "means to behold and gaze on something attentively" (57). Since Bernard presents images for the monks to "gaze" upon, we might reflect that Western males are most stimulated sexually by sight.

With the attention of his audience focused m the property of the kiss-its grace, Bernard next emphasized its significance for them:

The mouth which kisses signifies the Word who assumes
human nature; the flesh which is assumed is the
recipient of the kiss; the kiss, which is of both giver
and receiver, is the Person which is of both, the
Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.
(216)

By this accumulation-a forceful trope intended to impress (Cicero, pseud. 361)--of horizontal imagery, Bernard revealed the orthodox theology of the dual nature of Christ, proclaimed at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) as being both God and man. Erotically he

refined-this figure seems to say something new and may transfer a thought to arousal (Cicero, pseud. 365)--the stationary noun, "kiss," to an active present tense verb, "kisses," concentrating on the body part "the mouth" as performing the action; within the same sentence he repeated "kiss" three times. Further, he directly connected the








50

"kiss" to an infusion into "flesh" so there can be no doubt of its sensual nature. However, there is also another aspect, drawn, of course, from the Gospel of John--the Word. In the "kiss," as Bernard explicated it, are three persons, but they are the Word itself, God as giver, and Jesus as receiver. At this point, however, be did not

explain the "kiss" as the Holy Spirit. The connection of God and man is found, though, in Christ and the Word. Bernard gave a second amplification of the union in the "kiss"--reconciliation. Prior to Christ's arrival, Bernard said, people

began to lose faith in the promises and they demanded
the kiss, the sign of the promise of reconciliation.
. and so by this sign of peace make peace secure. . .
[not] believing in mere words. They need to be
confirmed by deeds. (217-18)

Bernard has changed the "kiss" now into a symbol of peace and a "deed" that was "demanded" to insure Christ's presence. This reconciliation became instituted not long after Bernard's life, in 1215 at the Eburth Lateran Council in the standardization of lay confession (Kieckbefer 102), which consists of the word, forgiveness through Christ, and reunion with God. Out of social concern and brotherly charity the Church itemized, examined, and restricted human sexuality in all its fleshly weakness and attempted to transfer its more lustful aspect into discourse.27

Having established audience interest and image participation, Bernard approached his audience in sermon 3 on the experience of divine union, the contemplative ecstasy. He said:

I want to investigate whether it has been given to any
of you to say, 'Let him kiss me with the kiss of his
mouth.' Few can say this wholeheartedly. But if anyone
once receives the spiritual kiss of Christ's mouth he








51

seeks eagerly to have it again and again. . . . But a
soul like mine, burdened with sins, cannot dare say
that, while it is still crippled by fleshly passions. (221) Bernard, in the tradition of mystical theology, implied that few

people actually had experienced such a phenomenon. Further, he described this experience, the "kiss" of contemplative ecstasy, as one that mystics wanted repeated. The juxtapositioning of three spiritual "kisses" with continuous desire and "fleshly passions" displays a bizarre use for the oxymoron. Certainly it would seem by such a choice of imagery that Bernard was acutely aware of the pa )tic-feelings and emotions in an audience-inner conflict that the Church's mandate and his own enforcement of celibacy had effected in his audience. Though monks are not necessarily priests and have their own vows of chastity, it is during Bernard's most influential lifetime that the first (1123) and second (1139) Lateran Councils ended the possible Roman Catholic legality of clerical marriage, something which is still a source of church division. But/ of course, Bernadine critics would have us remember that Bernard's benevolent motivation which made "divine union" so personal for his monks is the reason we should not construe his rhetoric as erotic. In keeping with this criticism, we might remember that Bernard's order, the Cistercians, was a strict reform of the Benedictines. To lash us and his audience, then, to the mast of sexual denial would seem to be the next step since the listeners/readers must not stop up their ears or eyes. Traditionally, asceticism28 provides the best reception for the ecstatic experience. Disciplined senses shut to the corporeal are supposed to attract the divine, so Bernard's coupling of divine union with a








52

reminder of sinful nature is orthodox mysticism. The problem of his language remains, however. It is like describing a deferred, mouth-watering meal to starving children.

The first ascetical step, then, for the sinful person, instead of aspiring to union, was to begin an allegorical movement of repentance described by three kisses: he should throw himself at Christ's feet and give them the first kiss; next, he should kiss the hand; then, he

may kiss the mouth. The social effect of penance, ve might remember, is a kind of containment meant to redirect outward aggression inward to restructure the self; when that is accomplished with the help of a spiritual leader, reconciliation may be effected towards those to whom aggression was originally directed. Spiritually, the same procedure is adopted since man's sin is a rebellion against God, and self denial is the way that Christ took to achieve man's salvation. The first kiss Bernard ascribed to penitence, demonstrated by the tears which accompanied it and washed not only Christ's feet as in Luke (7:37), but also the penitent himself. Only with forgiveness may the penitent rise by grace given by the hand which helped him up. The kiss to the

hand, then, signified that the glory was due to the giver of grace, not the given. Overwhelming love caused the penitent to "press" for the gift of "that supreme kiss of the highest condescension and wonderful sweetness" (223) which, of course, is the kiss of Christ's mouth. Though sermon 3 briefly discussed the contemplative ecstasy in terms of the kiss, the penitent kisses leading to it were explained in

more detail. Of course, 'we might have failed to recognize the erotic nature of traveling up the body via kisses because the motive is to








53

show disgust and sorrow with the sins of the flesh. Hierarchical desire is inherent in the vertical plane of our experience. No one wants to remain servilely at the feet, yet that is the place the humble Christian must begin. The mouth is prioritized because it is the bodily entrance to the head, the translating center of language. In mystical tradition, the movement in cataphatic theology is always upwards, a scala toward divine union.30 We my discern from Bernard's theology of the Word, as well as his belief, that "sinful nature" is "crippled by fleshly passion," but union can be effected by "spiritual" language.

Though Bernard's fourth sermon showed kisses as "stages of progress in the soul, it emphasized the body." He denied "bodily mebers" to God "since 'God is a Spirit"'; then paradoxically, he referred again to "the kiss of the mouth" because Scripture spoke of it, using portrayal-a figure which depicts a person through his body (Cicero, pseud. 387). By means of metonymy, Bernard specified the bodily parts God has by the gifts that come from them, i.e. knowledge from the mouth that teaches, food by his hand, and feet for the kisses of humility. Then he attempted to clarify the paradox by saying "God has all these not by nature, but we understand them as ways by which we can come to him" (225). Bernard then spoke of the love of God in term~ of a bodily mystical joy: "A joyous contemplation finds rest in him in the rapture which is the kiss of his muth" (226). This antithetical doctrine of opposites, contemplation and physical rapture, consisted in Bernard's belief that the soul needs the body:








54

only through the body does the way, the ascent
to the life of blessedness, lie open to us. . . .
The spiritual creature which we are has a body
which is necessary to it, and without which it cannot
reach that knowledge which is the only way to the
knowledge the blessed have. (227)

Bernard recognized his use of the body as necessary matter or form for the soul. The body, of course, is a prerequisite for both the literal and the spiritual union of Bride with Bridegrocm in the kiss, not to speak of sexual rapture.

Displaying his knack for dispositio-the rhetorical arrangement of material--Bernard uses sermon 6 to bridge the spiritual focus of sermon 5 to the carnality of the kiss sermons. Sermon 6 refers to mankind's inability to understand God'B spiritual ways. Such a statement not only explains the reason for the Incarnation, but also

the reason behind Bernard's invocation of the fleshly figure of the kiss:

He became incarnate for the sake of carnal men, that he
might induce them to relish the life of the Spirit . In the body, I repeat, and through the body, he
performed wonderful deeds. (Bernard, Serm. 33)

Enlarging this carnal need, Bernard showed it as the means to the

Spirit: It was necessary that the sinner should receive pardon for her sins while lying prone at God's feet of flesh, kissing these saw feet with her lips of flesh. This utter prostration of the sinner, who in Bernard's rhetoric has changed gender from the male penitent to the returning Bride, is necessary for the kiss to occur, which, Bernard cautioned, must be "understood in a spiritual sense" (Serm. 35). Trying to emphasize this "sense," he defined God's feet. One foot is "truth and judgment"; the other is "mercy." He urged the kissing of both feet in order to avoid the errors of "despair" or "pernicious








55

security" (Sermones 37). The ef fects of this sermon do more, though, than just precipitate Christ's gift of lave and provide a base for conversion. The effects pervade experiential planes. For instance, not only is the sexually subordinate position accorded to a feminine

representation, but the position is horizontal with the ground. Communal access is horizontal. Furthermore, the prone position was accepted by the medieval Church as the correct copulatory position, as opposed to other "unnatural" ones. Next, there is a reverse order of bodily connection; the head of the woman applies itself to the male extremities--the feet. Also, the connection of feet and lips is emphasized by repeating "flesh" and by urging two kisses. But to be

fair to Bernard, he did make the spiritual connection, too, vhen he ascribed a trinity of Christian qualities-truth, judgment, and mercy--to God's two feet.

In sermon 7, dwelling on the point, Bernard returned to the kiss of union and specified it as the Bride's request: "Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth-" Since a kiss, then as now, presupposes affection, Bernard examined affection. After he used the figure of division to define (Cicero, pseud. 361) the various "affections," Bernard contrasted the Bride's affection as love: "Sche who asks for a kiss feels lave." Such affection is the epitome of gifts: "This affection of love excels among the gifts of nature, especially when it returns to its source, which is God" (231). Character delineation is the figure which uses signs and attributes to "know" a person (Cicero, pseud. 387), and Bernard utilized it when the "affection" of the Bridegroom's Word is shown to the Bride's Soul. Bernard placed love here in the domain of marriage:











So then love especially and chiefly belongs to those
who are married and it is not inappropriate to call the loving soul a Bride. . . . She does not ask for freedom
or payment or an inheritance or learning, but for a
kiss. . . . and she cannot disguise the flaw which is
so evident. (Bernard 232)

Her love is such, Bernard said, that she cannot see the "majesty" of Him whom she dares to love. The only explanation for her daring to ask him for a kiss is that she au, t be intoxicated: "Is she drunk? Indeed she is111 This odd concoction of intoxication, spiritual thirst, and sexual desire is made even odder by Bernard adding rhetorical palliation-praise combined with frankness (Cicero, pseud. 351)-to show that she did not present her request for a kiss directly, but did it "modestly" through the mediation of those present (angels, in Bernard's estimation) as if the Bridegroom were not there (Bernard 232):

She desires to be kissed and she asks for what she desires. But she does not name him whom she loves,
because she has so often spoken of him to them.
Therefore she does not say, 'Let him, or him, kiss me,
but just, 'Let him kiss me, I just as Mary Magdalene did
not say the name of him whom she sought . . . And so
then she, speaking to the Bridegroom's companions,
takes it that they know what sbe means, and sbe speaks no name when she bursts forth about her beloved. 'Let
him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth. I (Bern. 235)

In the previous passage four main points are made: unneeded

names, the issue of mediation, a comparison with Mary Magdalene, and the Bride's boldness. Since naming is a human sound system for communicating knowledge of presence, an ambiguous reference such as "him" fixes a form of familiarity. The company is quite aware of the Bridegroom's presence; all know that the Bride wants the privileged








57

kiss of the nmth from him and no one else. Since language is not needed to identify his presence, we may infer that the mystical presence not only need not, but cannot be symbolically represented.31 Nevertheless, it is the human language emanating from the upper vertical region of the body-the mouth-which expresses desire for the experience. The socially borizontal incorporation of other beings or intermediaries in bringing together the wills of Bride and Bridegroom makes a parallel of the ecclesiastical/monastic mediation between laity and divinity, not to speak of the mediation of the Virgin Mary and the saints with Christ, one of the theological issues (Pelikan 165) which Bernard bolstered in his sermoKns.

The difference, though, is that the mediation of the Church and its saints is not horizontal, but hierarchical.Periphrasis has again twisted our awareness of mediating beings who combine divine and human

qualities in spiritual mediation. The cross of horizontal and vertical planes is the space of sermon 7's rhetorical experience. Through his

invocation of Mary Magdalene, Bernard connected the heavy imagery of sensuality, love, forgiveness, and spirituality to the familiarity of the soul for God and retracement in Christ. Even in the English work,

Mirror of Simple Souls, Mary Magdalene "is held up as a model for the mystic because she thus 'drewe God to hir"' (Riehie 74). Juxtaposing sensual femininity turned pure, Bernard presented the pure soul who "does not love in fleshly desire" turned passionate with a spiritual love that made her drunk and oblivious to God's "majesty." In fact, he praised her boldness and lack of subterfuge in "telliling] him clearly what she desires." Bernard dramatized his mystical theology when he








58

described her demand for the "kiss" as an ecstatic spontaneous overf low of the "force of love!" This linguistic ejaculation erupting from a drunkenness in the soul muffles her discrimination of the overwhelming nature of God compared to the soul 's relative insignificance. Bernard enhanced his description of the vertical movement of the soul 's language by locating her as "1com[ ing] out of the wine cellar" (232). Concluding this passage on the drunken soul, Bernard reinforced it with the psalmist's cannent to God: "They shall be intoxicated with the plenty of your house, and you will give them the torrents of your pleasure to drink" (Ps 35:9).

Rarefying the experience of the "kiss" in sermon 8, Bernard repeatedly used the ancient trope of hyperbole to inform his monks about "the supreme kiss, the kiss of the mouth" and cautioned them to "Listen more carefully to that which tastes the sweeter, is enjoyed the more rarely, and is the more difficult to understand" (236). In this sermon Bernard made several distinctions. First, through hyperbaton--a figure which makes use of an audience 's memory to make a word order change (Cicero, pseud. 339)-he drew attention to what we note as a choice of prepositions. Bernard mentioned that if the Bride had said, "Let him kiss me with his mouth" (emphasis mine), she would have been referring to God himself, and this she would not have ",dare~d]."1 Next, he doubled the identification of the kiss as a "new kiss, not from the Bridegroom's mouth but from the kiss of his mouth" (emphasis mine). Another periphrasic twist occurred when Bernard communally connected the kiss to "breath": He quoted from John's gospel that Jesus breathed on his apostles and told them, "Receive the








59

Holy Spirit" (236). The kiss was not, then, the breath at all (as in Abelard and Plato), but the "invisible Spirit." Bernard confirmed this

image when he said, "It is appropriate to think of the Holy Spirit as the kiss" (237. &Vhasis mine).

Bernard continued the kiss Accumulation making connections

through knowledge and love. "So when the Bride asks for a kiss," he said, "she begs to be flooded with the grace of this threefold knowledge as much as mortal flesh can bear"(238). The "threefold knowledge" in this case was the Son's gift which revealed the Father's love through the kiss of the Holy Spirit. Bernard, paradoxically,

given the sermons he preached,32 cautioned against reliance m the senses or intellectual curiosity. His example was the Bride who "does

not trust her senses or rely m the vain speculations of human curiosity," but instead:

asks for a kiss. . . . And that knowledge which is
given in a kiss is received with lave, for a kiss is the sign of lave. . . . the grace of the kiss brings
with it a double gift, both the light of knowledge and the wealth of devotion. . . . This kiss leaves no room
for error or apathy. (Bernard 239)

Riehle identifies this combination of knowledge and lave as part of "affective mysticism" when he says, "Hence for the mystic affective contemplation implies receiving wisdom and savouring divine love at

the same time" (109). After telling his audience what the kiss brought, Bernard rhetorically reversed time to the anticipation of the kiss, and told the bride to get prepared as if be and his audience were dramatically present: "Therefore let the Bride prepare her two lips" (Bernard 239). Symbolically, this preparation involved understanding through love, desire for wisdom, and fulfillment through








60

grace, as demonstrated through Bernard's evocation of Psalm 44: "Your lips are moist with grace, for God has blessed you forever" (239). Literally, mist lips are erotic, especially as preparation for the

groom's entrance. We cannot deny this bridal evocation even when aware of the spiritual connection of "grace." We may presume the parallel lips of human anatomy to which Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" alludes.

Bernard, then, expanded and clarified the unity found in the kiss through comparison when he noted, "And so the Father, kissing the Son, pours into him in full the mysteries of his divinity, and breathes the sweetness of love" (239). Of course, Bernard was quick to mention that no human had ever seen such a holy embrace as that of the trinity, and added that he has been made aware of it through the Gospel of John:

'The only begotten who was in the bosom of the Father,
he has told' On 1:18) us. And what is that telling but a kiss? But it is the kiss of a kiss, not of the
mouth. Hear about the kiss of the mouth, I I and the Father are one' (Jn 10:30), and again, 'I am in the
Father and the Father in mel (Jn 14:10). This is a kiss
from mouth to mouth which no creature can receive. It
is a kiss of peace and lave. . . . But let us
distinguish more clearly between the two. (Bernard 240)

He who received the fullness is given the kiss of the
mouth, but he who receives from the fullness (Jn 1: 16)
is given the kiss of the kiss. (Bernard, Serm. 51)

Though the latter translation by Walsh is more comprehensible using "from" than Evans who uses ,Of,,,33 there still seems little difference in the cause, only the metonymic effects of being a recipient: "fullness" equals "fullness," but "mouth" does not equal "kiss." There does seem to be something else going on here--a kind of prioritizing of the male divinity connection with the stream of grace which they both emit and share in the "kiss of the kiss." Fortunately,








61

for the spiritual aspect, Bernard clarified the distinction a little further on when he used St. Paul's "kiss" in contrast to Christ-s. Paul could not reach the "face of glory" so his humble request was bestowed by a "kiss of the kiss," but Christ ,meets the Fatherts Muth

directly" and receives the "kiss of the mouth" (Serm. -91). Bernard ended this sermon with a consideration that "the Lord your God . . . perhaps ought not to be kissed, but adored with the Father and the

Holy Spirit" (241).

Sermon 9 picks up the Biblical allusion to Jerusalem as whore:

"But you have sinned with many lavers, and yet you return to mel says the Lord" (Jer 3:1). Bernard mentioned the Bride's past adultery with other lavers who abused and finally repudiated her so that she returned to the Bridegroom kissing his feet in penitence. His love and forgiveness emboldened the Bride into demanding the "kiss of the handn

laden with its obtainable virtues (Bernard, Serm. 53). Bernard's direct reference to sexual promiscuity with Biblical support shows a cultural fantasy of woman on the ground begging forgiveness to man. Where before the penitent approached God by vertical stages, the Bride must speak, demanding the helping band, so that she, too, may follow

the upward trail of kisses. Saint Bernard showed the Bride as fearless of her husband's remembrance of ber sins and of the possibility that he would renounce her. In fact, she presents no reasonable account for her restless demand for "the kiss of his mouth," explaining "It is desire that drives me on, not reason" (Serm. 54). The bridal epithet

seems strangely awry as Bernard had her recount years of "dry" fidelity and chaste duty as the cause for her love's "thirst" for the








62

"kiss of his mouth" (Bernard, Sermones 55). While Bernard was probably paralleling ascetic denial to the Bride's dry duty, the audience is

still made vividly aware of its own sexual "thirst," presumably transformed into spiritual desire. He extended the parallel to

knowledge of God, which seems to use the Biblical sense, when he identified his audience's inability to comprehend the "subtle truths of God" as the Bride's dryness and noted their 11yearn[ing] to be

kissed" by Him. Building the rhetorical power of his last concept by heightening the sense of taste through desire, he returned to the psalmist who thirsted for "that kiss at whose touch the lips are so bedewed with the richness of spiritual grace" (Bernard, Serm. 55). At this point Bernard brought his audience to the climax of the kiss sermons. There is no doubt that the "holy kiss" caused conception since Bridegroom informed his Bride:

You will know that you have received the kiss because
you will be conscious of having conceived. That
explains the expansion of your breasts, filled with
milky richness far surpassing wine. (�trm. 58)

Though we are bound to realize that the breast milk symbolized the nourishment given to spiritual babies and resulted from the "kisses of contemplation" (Sermones 59), we cannot fail to remember the drunken Bride's ecstasy when the milk was contrasted with wine. This last thematically created "kiss" sermon sum up Bernard's mystic fiducia. It shows his confidence in Christ, as Bridegroom, showing love; it shows Bernard's desire for the spiritual in his carnal terminology; it parallels his outward expression of ecstasy in the nourishment produced by God's kiss.









63

References to the kiss, as mentioned previously, are severely limited after sermon 9. They do combine, however, the erotic, spiritual, and social dimensions of these early sermons in term of spatial movement. For instance in sermon 28, the spiritual aspect is emphasized when Bernard contrasts the kiss of man's hand to Job's adoring kiss--gift to God (Sermones 94). In sermon 30, Bernard lists

antitheses which include "the curb and the kiss" to show the different ways "ardor" nay be measured. The Bridegroom's "maneuvering" for the Bride's kiss is described as a change of presence in sermon 31, and

his kisses prove him both "loving and charming" (Serm. 130-31). Sermon 38 connects the Bridegroom's "colloquys" with "kisses"; they are both privileged and intimate communications which inspire the daring of the Bride (Sermones 189). The horizontally social aspect of the Bride's milk is furthered in her preaching assignment which Bernard applied in sermon 41, his last kiss reference:

We learn from this that only too often we must
interrupt the sweet kisses to feed the needy with the
milk of doctrine. (On the Sonq 208)

If all these kisses are spiritual indicators and do not display an erotic component, then why should Christ "perhaps not be kissed"?

Though no critics show a willingness to explain the eroticism of St. Bernard's mystic kiss, critic Wolfgang Riehie willingly identified "the erotic component" as "characteristic of the mysticism of St Bernard and St Francis" (136). Even with this fairly straightforward identification, Riehle feels the need to castigate the Englishwoman,

Margery Kempe, for exactly the same "component" when he said of her: "In a way which is typical for her sick, neurotic psyche she uses the








64

verb ravishen in both an erotic and a mystical meaning" (96). Perhaps the cause of Riehle's disgust lies with her lack of canonization, or with her loud cries that would not subtly insinuate themselves into his psyche, or with the fact that her gender presents the erotic from a female perspective instead of a female appropriation.

St. Bernard's experience and Biblical study were the basis of his mysticism and rhetoric. As we have seen, he was not above using erotic rhetoric to keep his audience's interest and to move them sensually through the space of their physical desires to the abstraction of their spiritual desires. Ordinarily, the recognition of his erotic dimension might indicate condemnation, which is probably why he and his admirers deny such a connection. Ethical considerations which he helped forge require heavy penalties for mixing Christianity with sexuality. It is true that Bernard was a successful manipulator of love with far-reaching effects through the centuries that followed

him. Yet, we can hardly cmit this man's life or the native of social love that it presents. It is through his description of the kiss in sonq that we view his mystical theology of sexual love and contrition

as metaphors for the union of God with soul. In Bernard the "union" translated into a charity which empowered his teaching, preaching, political involvement and loyalty. Riehle points out that "Bernard expresses the teaching of affective mysticism--that love is the only form of experience and knowledge of God" (111).

Leclercq identifies Bernard as quite aware of the human condition in the containment of society. He says:











We exist in a society frcin which we receive and to which
we must contribute, and this entails many practical
consequences of 'which Bernard often spoke to his monks.
He greatly insisted on 'social grace' as a requirement for
any ccuimunal life . . . . Everything Bernard said about
fraternal love in the rest of his work and everything he
did throughout his life in the service of his neighbor,
was simply the practical application of the social
character of love. ("Intro.," Evans 41)

Such acknowledgement should cause us to examine contemplation. Is it that peaceful, quiet state known as meditation? Can it really be a contained, inward moxvement if Bernard was so active? Leclercq says that "The more he [Bernard] enjoyed contmlative solitude with God, the more responsible he felt for sharing with others the interior light he had received" (" Intro.," Evans 18). Phenomenological data indicates contemplation is only outwardly calm; the alpha waves of the brain synchronize positively with "traits of the strong nervous system"; alpha abundance is always high in such people. Yogis who produce greater light discharges frcn their bodies while photographed with the Curlian procedure way be wnly reflecting a rise in their generally lower alpha abundance in ccinparison with experienced Christian contemplatives.34 From this evidence, sketchy as it still is, we may infer that contemplatives are much more active than passive. Further study might explain why such people generate more bodily energy outward than the Eastern contemplatives: and the inexperienced subjects. Certainly, this very movmnt is analogous to the movement of the "kiss" sermons. The Bride asks for "the kiss of the mouth"; her desire is for Divine Uniion; she makes her request within the cazmunity-a social intercession that confirms her








66

connection. Thus, the soul receives its grace from Christ through a kind of community intercourse.

St Bernard's energy has never been disputed. As Murray indicates:

The center of gravity of Christendom was clearly at
Clairvaux rather than at Rome. . . . It is no wonder
that Luther, looking back into the Middle Ages, should
feel himself to be in the succession of St Bernard
[especially as Bernard relied on Christ]. (27)

But whereas Luther's fiducia saw man as a sinner saved by Christ, in effect, a finished product sealed with God's kiss, Bernard saw van

within a continuum of love, allowing the soul to forget its regressions.35 Despite the shame and guilt which this approach entails, it is due to Bernard's energetic personality, though, that "me of the most notable products of Western mysticism" (25) exists.

We have noted the many influences on St. Bernard and though we refute Evans' praise, we may still join his sentiment when be says that the

sermons on the.Sonq of Songs "draw for their inspiration from the Bible and on Bernard's own thoughts, and there appears to be no reference to any of the Fathers. All that Bernard had, he had of himself" (26). The union of Bride with Bridegroom through the kiss is Bernard's Christocentric mystical theology, which had not only erotic connections, but also socio-political implications.

Bernard saw the Bride's desire as causal, and the Bridegroom's magnificence as divine; the kiss, was both the action of grace bestowed upon the soul and the union of divinity. The metaphor of the kiss incorporated a trinity whose emanation was grace, brought about by a meting of wills-that of Bride and Bridegroom. It is important to notice, though, that the Bride did not lose her identity in union








67

with the Bridegroam since such immersion would not be consistent with Bernard's individualism. Describing mystical union, he said:

God and man remain distinct from one another. Each
retains his own will and substance. They do not mingle
their substances, but rather consent in will. This
union is for them a communion of wills and an agreement
in lave. (Quoted in Ozment 131).

The doctrine of grace which Bernard espoused showed the Bride already infused with desire from her first words. Such desire for divine union, he believed, was a result of already infused grace, which is continually desired after receiving the kiss.

Besides erotic and socio-political implications, a third division of Bernard's mystical theology demonstrated by the kiss of fullness was God's omnipotence. It was God who kissed the Son with the Holy Spirit, an action unobservable by mankind. Because it was only through Christ that Bernard saw ran achieving union; it was Christ's kiss that carried a "wonderful sweetness," one of the odors of mysticism. Lastly, mankind's weakness and need for God were paralleled in the Bride's intoxicated "daring," in the presence of the Bridegroom's 11majesty,11 and in the prostration of the penitent kissing Christ's feet. The metaphoric "kiss" sermons, then, amply demonstrated Bernard's persuasion through eroticism, sublimity in spirituality, and Christian social service, in other words, his mysticism of lave. The contained, horizontal, and vertical experiences-transferred through his erotic rhetoric-all started with a kiss.

Notes

It is arguable that Plato caused the original dichotomy. Certainly, his culture prioritized male beauty and male love and denigrated the female to aspects of sordid sensuality and matter. His writings reflected the polarity, but they also demanded control of










matter in the service of divinity. Prior to the writings of Plato, there are indications of a human unified 'understanding of the spiritual-sexual connection but "Plato was the first writer in Western intellectual history to make explicit and systematic use of the language of sexuality for knowing" (Evelyn Keller 21), just as there are indications that a more exalted position was given to rhetoric than his diatribe against Sophists would have history believe. In Phaedrus, Plato describes an early human enjoyment of "the beatific vision" before corruption set in:

Whole were we who celebrated that festival, unspotted by all the
evils which awaited us in time to ccmer and whole and unspotted
and changeless and serene were the objects revealed to us in the light of that mystic vision. Pure was the light and pure were we
from the pollution of the walking sepulchre which we call a body,
to which 'we are bound like an oyster to its shell. (56-7)

Not only does he make the body spotted, polluted, and an image of death and prison, but be describes the human soul as "a mixture of good and bad" (50) in an image of a charioteer driving an unruly, passionate horse braced to one which is "fine and good and of noble stock" (51). This discourse is embedded within his "science of love"
(66) and mingles with his review of rhetoric as an art of persuasion
more properly applied to address the gods than in its usual pursuit of probability without concern for truth (93-4).

2 Each of these religious is contemplative and enclosed as
opposed to active in preaching and teaching in the world. They are known by the noun appellation of "religious," which is a term for any monastic calling, male or female. The Carthusians were contemplative founded by St. Bruno in 1084. They "attached special importance to silence, manual labor, and the strict suppression of sexual desire" and practiced self-flagellation despite its prohibition by Pope Clement VI (Ozment 87). The Victorines, supposedly after St. Victor, adopted the Rule of St. Augustine. The Benedictines followed the Rule of St. Benedict, and the Cistercians were a reform of that order.

3 Bernard began the sermons on the Canticle of Canticles in
about 1135. He continued them on and off until his death at age 63. As
expositions on the Song, Leclercq tells us, "he [Bernard] does not go beyond the first verse of the second of the eight chapters of the biblical book" ("Intro.," Evans 22). Actually his eighty-six sermons are his means of expressing contemplation, asceticism, and divine union itself. Each sermon is a unified whole expressing a concept and containing its amplification. Ib say that they are unfinished, really refers to the organizing plan of the Song itself, not to any lack of unity in the sermons.
4 Jean Leclercq says that the "most read and most frequently
commented in the medieval cloister" was none other than "a book of the Old Testament: the Canticle of Canticles" (IoLe 84).











5 For a discussion of the literary composition of the Sermons,
see Jean Leclercq's introduction in Killian Walsh Trans., On the Song of Songs II.

6 Leclercq proposes that grammar and mysticism are inextricably bound: "These two elements are the two constants of Western monastic culture: on the one hand, the study of letters; on the other, the exclusive search for God" (Love 22). Commenting on the first half of the ninth century, he asks, "How does grammar help one get to Heaven? By making possible the reading of the Scripture and the Fathers. It is a gift of God, like his word itself, from which it cannot be separated since it furnishes the key to it" (Leclercq, Love 44). Murphy suggests that Isidore of Seville (c.570-636) "brings grammar and rhetoric together" in Rhetoric in the Middle Ages (73). We may also remember Donatus' influence "in medieval Europe both before and after 1200,"1 especially his Barbarismus; it "tended to create a special grammatical interest in the lore of figurae" (140) because he included thirty-three figures and tropes. My point is that the use of language is sometimes discussed in terms of grammar and sometimes rhetoric. At times over the centuries they have been separated; at other times they have been combined. I tend to see them usually under
the heading of grammar during the medieval period because "As one modern scholar has said in relation to rhetoric, 'in terms of a single subject matter--such as style, literature, discourse--it has no history during the middle ages" (Murphy 87). The probable reason is the Platonic condemnation in Gorgias of rhetoric as "cookery": neither could claim to be an art nor show concern for the welfare of others in their aim at immediate gratification (Plato 10). As a classical rather than Christian art, rhetorici" was not defended until Augustine's IDe Doctrina Christiana, but it would take several hundred years for another Christian to write a rhetorical treatise. John of Salisbury's Metalogicon "1squeeze[s] out" rhetoric, says Murphy (129, FN 122).

7"The Ars Praedicandi, the complex theory of the thematic sermon, appears early in the thirteenth century" (Murphy 88). Homiletic, then, was not a prescribed art during Bernard's time of the 12th. century, and earlier had only been reserved for bishops. It does have a history, though, in the Jewish community where scriptural readings and comments were invited (Murphy 273), but the line between preaching and teaching was not always easy to discern (Murphy 278). Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care was more "a treatise on moral pathology" than a plan for sermon designs. See also my note 14.

8 Origen is credited with the use of three senses in exegesis: "the literal, the moral, and the intellectual or spiritual; and the last was the perfect and complete meaning" (Pelikan 1: 61). Origen also did a commentary on the Song "known to St. Bernard but of another spirit than his" (Gilson 17). "It is the mysticism of an exegete" (Gilson, FN 7, 216).

9 Mokst scholars agree that Aristotle's Rhetorica was not nearly as influential as the pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica Ad Herennium and










parts of Cicero's De Inventione (Murphy 132), both of which refrain from subjective disclosures.

10 While Bernard is speaking about the perfumes of the bride, he delivers a lengthy tribute to humility. Again while extolling the name of Jesus, he discusses sane Old Testament names which takes him to the resurrection of a boy who yawns seven times; fram there Bernard moves to the seven steps of conversion, bringing him to the Spirit of God in the second verse of the Canticle (Leclercq, Love 74-5).

11 According to legend and sane critics, Origen castrated himself because of concupiscent feelings. See Astell, 3.

12 In 1948 S.M. Stern published 20 short lyrical poems, the oldest of which was written before 1040 A]) and found in old manuscripts in Cairo, Egypt with Arabic or Hebrew chartr, but in an old Spanish dialect of Mozarabique, forerunner of the Castilian. These short love lyrics with imagery very similar to the Song of Songs predates the French Provengal lyrics. Typical of the larchas is the fact that they always deal with love and are narrated by a young male laver; they frequently address a friend or teacher and comment on the absence of the beloved; on occasion they employ the beloved 's mother as confidante to the lover's complaints; and, they use formulas also discoverable in 13th. and 14th. century Galician and Portuguese and in 15th. and 16th. century Castilian love songs (Sanchez-Romeralo and Ibarra 10).

13 The differences between dialectic and rhetoric as delineated in Book Four of Topica Boetii are: "11. Dialectic proceeds by interrogation andl response; rhetoric has uninterrupted discourse. 2. Dialectic employs perfect syllogism; rhetoric is satisfied with brief enthymemes. 3. Dialectic seeks to dislodge an adversary; rhetoric tries to move a judge or judges" (Murphy 70).
14 Though Leclercq says Bernard's genre was the "sermon," a structure of "exordium, development, and a conclusion" (Love 6), Murphy says that "all the evidence seems to point to the conclusion that a purposeful choice of nontheory [lack of rhetorical arrangement, on the lines of inspiration] was regarded by many churchmen, over many centuries, as a viable way to respond to Christ's preaching mandate.
.Aside from Pope Gregory, there are only one or two other preaching theorists worth mentioning before AD 1200"1 (300). Thus, Bernard's development of anthropomorphic tropes and scriptural "reminiscence", is a unique rhetorical preaching theory persuasive of the movement fran human to divine state.

15 Bernard did not invent the marriage symbolism already in the Song, but he does develop allegorical wedding unions within the human soul's desire for Christ and His kiss gift, within the Church's commnunal desire for Crist and the Father's gift of the Word fran the mouth of Christ spiritually manifesting itself as a kiss, and among the Trinity with the Spirit as means of union between Christ and God the Father when They share a kiss.











16 Murphy mentions that analogy and metaphor "are especially
prominent in the medieval period" (276). "It was at least partly in response to pagan criticism of the stories in the Bible that the Christian apologists, like their Jewish predecessors, took over and adapted the methods of pagan allegorism" (Pelikan I: 30), in particular the analogy of the body used in Aesop's fables, later by St. Paul, "But the creative principle underlying all medieval exegesis is the evolutionary character of all Sacred History, the conception of the Church as a growing body, and this body being the total Christ" (Leclercq, Love 80).

17 Referring to "the carnally minded reader" as "endangerLed]"
by the Song's "lushly erotic" language (1), Ann Astell also reminds us that the literature of the Cistercians, among others of the twelfth
century, "required (and inspired) a body of monastic love literature which is noticeably different . . . [because of] its incorporation of feminine imagery and in its preferred symbolism of God's love for humankind by the love between a man and a woman-a symbolism explicitly derived from the Song of Songs" (9). Etienne Gilson does not appear to argue with the licentiousness which such sensual "mystical" ecstasy evokes and rather than freezing it with cold disdain, heats it with ardor that contemptuously ignites a union from which courtly love usually refrains (186). In effect the symbolism is erotic because it comes from an erotic source and is used because of a level of experience that constitutes the adult-entered Cistercian monastic community in a way that the Benedictines did not compose because of celibate lives led from childhood. But, according to Astell and Gilson, if we read his sermons that way, we are "carnally minded reader [s]."

18 The pseudo-Cicero of the Ad Herennium identifies the "task of the public speaker" as securing "as far as possible the agreement of his hearers" (5). Furthermore, Murphy identifies the Rhetorica Ad Herennium and parts of Cicero's De Inventione as being most influential on the rhetoric of the middle ages; he discounts Aristotle's Rhetorica since it was widely known as a book of "'moral philosophy' rather than a book on discourse" (132).

19 Origen (In Canticum Canticorum, trans. Rufinus, Patrologiae
Cursus Completus, Series Graeca, Ed. J.P. Migne. 162 vols., with Latin translation. Paris, 1857-66; vol. 13, c63) acknowledges the possibility of erotic incitement by the Scriptures: "occasione divinae Scripturae ccmnoveri et incitari videbitur ad libidinem carnis"
(quoted in Astell 1). Astell also attributes Origen's exegesis as "parallelLing] the process of mystical marriage which is the Song's secret subject" (3). William of St. Thierry encouraged Bernard's
exposition on the Song. His own knowledge of the subject led him to collect "Gregory the Great's sayings on the Song of Songs, and those of St. Ambrose; he wrote an exposition of his own" (see Patroloqia Latina 180, 441-526). Other conmntators on the Song at the time included: Anselm of Laon, Bruno of Segni, Rupert of Deutz, Honorius of











Autun, Philip of Harveng, Gilbert de la Poree, Gilbert of Hoyland, John of Ford, Thomas the Cistercian, and Alain de Lille (Astell 8-9).
Astell also refers us for ordered commentaries and summaries to Marvin Pope's edition of TIhe Song of Songs, Anchor Bible Series (1977), 114-24, 236-42.

20 Riehie took this information from G.Gerleman, Ruth. Das
Hohelied. Biblischer Kommentar--Altes Testament, 18 [Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1965], p.53 and passim.

21 See Etienne Gilson's chapter "Courtly Love and Christian
Mysticism Hypothesis of Influence" in Mystical Theology of St. Bernard (186-197).

22 See Sharon Farmer's "Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives" in Speculum, 61: 517-543.

23 Etienne Gilson's book The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, translated by A.H.C. Downes, discusses the points of Bernard's doctrine of love together with the soul's attempt to regain
its original state of that love. (His most concise recognition of the mystical theology can be found on p.71.) How Bernard displays genuine mysticism is not specifically dealt with, but certain factors enable such judgment. First, he refers to experiencing a love which is unselfish and all-forgiving. Second, Bernard identifies the experience as different for each person, yet having in common a transitory nature. Third, Bernard feels the need to communicate his experience. Through Bernard's language, we glimpse a mystic who also presented a mystical theology.

24 Mystical rhetoric refers to specific ways of describing the experience which are repeated through the ages and constitute its
cant. For instance, an anonymous monk early in the twelfth century wrote "The City of God" and asked, "Who then will conduct us to the city of the great king in order that what we now read in these pages
and see only as in a glass, darkly, we may then look upon the f ace of God present before us, and so rejoice?" (Leclercq, Love 65). However, the sane phrase was stated in 1 Cor 13:12 as "Now we see through a glass darkly, but hereafter face to face" and quoted by Bernard in his sermon 'On Conversion (Evans, Bernard 90). Common tropes to mystical rhetoric include: fire, cloud, spear/arrow, light, flower, music, perfume, et al.

25 Ambiguity is also part of mystical rhetoric and begins in
the Christian tradition with the Old Testament Yaweh, God: I am who am. The idea that God refuses to specifically identify himself indicates his divinity. Bernard connects this lack of naming with the
Bridegroom and even the Bride, both of whom are referred to by mans of onomathesia, a means of naming according to the nature of the being as used in Genesis, as their position indicates; but the ambiguity in
the Song also surrounds the speaker. Often, there is no real indicator of who is speaking or when a change of speaker has taken place.











Ambiguity was furthered by the ancient Western mystics in order to keep the sacramental nature of religion out of the bands of the uninitiated; as the Pseudo-Dionysius says, "it is the protective garb of the understanding of what is ineffable and invisible to the can multitude", (283).

26 The "elect" vary among specific Christian religions. The
most ccumrkn Pre-Reformation reference is to those people who receive a specific call fromn God to lead a life separated from most of humanity by its rigorous denial of the carnal call. Bernard's use of the term seems to refer to monks: anchor ites or hermits, those who live apart fran cannunities; cenobites, those who live in fraternal couunuity charity; perhaps even mendicant ascetics, those who wander from place to place and are given alms. On occasion it refers to those who have
received the gift of divine union, which though Bernard avers is possible to anyone, only happens to a relative few-the mystics.
27 Some discussion of the history and ramifications of the
Sacrament of Penance in the form of private confession may be found in Michel Foucault's The History of Sexuality, vol. 2, trans. Robert Hurley (1980). Various excellent articles on this subject are in Philosophy of Sex (1980), edited by Alan Soble. For an individual as well as cultural approach see Donald Goergen 's The Sexual Celibate (1979). There is also cwimentary on this topic in Sharon Farmer's article cited above. The point is that Christian celibacy began because of the apocalyptic expectation wherein Christians would not be in the carnal body and would thereby be whole through union with God. When that occurrence did not happen, chastity became more connected with holiness. Consequently, sexuality became a source of defilement for secular as well as monastic and priestly vocations. Despite the decree of the regional Council of Elvira in Spain (c.306 AD) opposing sexual relations for bishops and priests, married or not, such relations did not stop and became a recognizable power obstructing ecclesiastical obedience. The confessional was the means to regulate this power, and priests were instructed to ask specific questions related to sexual activities which included its nature and frequency. The effect was to extend Church regulation into the bedroom. As for the monks, their vows were an extension of their calling, but even for them much confusion reigned on the topic. Many observers have termed the sexual encounters of both ecclesiastic and monastic members of this time period as scandalous, but the observations are from our historical period, a time known for its clear and wholescuie ethical divisions. Voluntary celibacy, as taken in the cenobitic vows, releases the individual to the power of God in his/her life, and should not be a denigration of sexuality. Celibacy is, after all, not a divine law nor even an infallible Church order.

28 Cistercian asceticism attempts to pattern thought, feeling,
and behavior after Christ. Thomas Merton identifies three basic steps in the asceticism promulgated by Bernard: (1) awareness of one's own shortcomings, (2)humility through acceptance, (3)mortification of appetites: simplicity of intellect, mortification of self-will through










obedience. Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard (119). The kernel of this asceticism is to strip the veils of sin from the soul which is an image of the image of God; it is a movement the individual makes toward God whereby he might again recognize the soul enough to infuse grace and strengthen its movement to regain divinity. In symbolic terms, three Biblical figures represent the cross of Christ which each Christian must carry in ascetic movement. Penitence is represented by Lazarus; good works by Martha; contemplation by Mary. Bernard also refers to the sterile but beautiful Rachel as contemplation and the fertile but unattractive Leah as action. Merton explains the purpose of "-the Cistercian Usages is, according to St. Bernard, to keep man in an atmosphere where, by obedience, poverty, solitude, prayer, fasting, silence, manual labor, and the common life [monastic community], he will be . . . forced to recognize his misery without God, with the result that he will turn to God in supplication, begging him for that
grace and infused charity which will enable him to purify his soul" (110).
29 There is som critical disagreement on the order of action and contemplation. Jaroslav Pelikan says, "Bernard of Clairvaux, simultaneously (or alternately) a reflective mystic and an 4minence grise"l in The Growth of Medieval Theology (298). Thomas Merton sees Bernard as promoting the "mixed life," but Jean Leclercq believes that "it is a concept missing in St. Bernard and objected to by St. Thomas [Aquinas]" (Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard,16). As is obvious from my discussion, I believe Bernard describes active life as a necessary proceeding from the contemplative, which is a sweeter and more sacramental state.

30 There is little connection to Pseudo-Dionysius in St.
Bernard's writing, celestial hierarchy envisions gradations of "being" from the human ecclesiastical hierarchy to the celestial divisions of saints and angels to God. The "ladder" is used by Bernard in an ascent to humility. Dante's scala is an upward climb to the soul's mystical union in Paradiso, interestingly attended by St. Bernard.
31 The names of God/Crist have been the subject of much mystical speculation over the centuries. The origin of such speculation, as might be guessed, lies in the Hebrew Bible where God identifies himself as "I am who am" a translation effected by the letters making up YHVH. The Jewish Kabbalah informs much of its mysticism on these symbols, letters, positions, and numerical equivalents. The spatial movement vertically through the seven levels of the Sefiroth, that hidden sphere of God, to the source of God's
emanations is just another way in which the symbols ray guide the initiated on his journey through himself to union with God. The mot notable expressions of the mysticism surrounding the names my be found in the Pseudo Dionysiun (spelled -un to disassociate him from
the riotous Greek god, Dionysius) treatise on The Divine Names and the Renaissance Spanish mystical scholar Luis de Leo n's book Nombres de Dios.










32 1 refer to Bernard'sa dependency on sensual reception of his sermons as I have explicated it through his rhetorical usage.

33 Evans translates: "He ivho receives of the fullness receives the kiss of the mouth. He who receives of the fullness (Jn 1: 16) receives the kiss of the kiss" (240). Tbis translation shows no difference in the qualifying adverbial phrases,. so I chose the Walsh translation.

34 Marilyn May Mallory did sm emirical testing on Carmelites
in the Netherlands. She used a combination of psychological, observation, and E. E.G * tests. She finds high alpha abundance as the normal pattern in experienced Christian contemlatives in contrast with the surge of alpha abundance in Zen and Yogi practitioners during contemlation (100). She uses Eysenck' a theory of personality to identify extroverted, stable personalities and introverted, weak ones (70-73). Eysenck's The Biolog~ical Basis of Personality (1967) shows introverts as over-sensitive to their environment and, thus, negatively influenced by it. Extroverts, be finds, however, have a better system of inhibitors which activate a kind of neurological protection. Mallory records inhibition and anxiety producing faster beta waves as opposed to the abundance of alpha waves in the more stable contemplatives.

35 In Gilson's Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, he refutes
any similarities between Luther and Bernard. In Murray's Abelard and St Bernard, the "seal" image is used by Abelard to describe the trinity. This image received Bernard's strongest condemnation, yet his "kiss" image is very similar in its trinitarian connection.















CHAPTER 2
SOUNDS OF SUBVERSION: MARGERY KEMPE'S UNORTHODOX WEEPING

"You may ask what skill enabled her to accomplish
this change, or on what grounds did she merit it?
I can tell you in a few words. She wept bitterly."
(St. Bernard, Sermon 3 of Song of Songs)

Locus

Twelfth century France is a long way from fourteenth century

England, and the direct simplicity of Margery Kempe's (1373?-1440?) single book is even further from the rhetorical complexity of Bernard of Clairvaux's many sermons. Nevertheless, the same affective tradition of Christian love continues to breathe in the work dictated by this remarkable woman. The question to be dealt with in this chapter is a question of how. How does Margery transform the sense of Bernard's Latinized language into the direct sounds of everyday Middle English.

Affective piety, men of the church agreed, tends to promote

desire. Thus we should not be surprised to find it as a potentially subversive emotion which takes form in Margery as one of the most widely believed "feminine wiles"--tears. This fluid response continues Bernard's sermon 41, but reappropriates it as a woman's experience of creation. Though she did not read, the Bernardine tradition had been translated into the sermons she heard and the private counsel she received. Note Bernard's breast milk of doctrine implied in the anchorite's words to her: "Dawtyr, ze sowkyn euyn on Chrystys rest" (Kempe, 18).1 Margery's bodily responses and visions are in the








77

traditim of affective piety, which develops a personal emotional passion in the mind of the believer, envisioning Christ and his life and participating in it. Such affective lave is the way of individual "feeling" rather than common knowledge.

One reason that the philosophy of Bernard and the experience of Margery coincide lies simply in their shared humanity. Bernard was, as we have just seen, well able to draw upon metaphors of the body in his

descriptions of spiritual experience. As Mark Johnson has recently demonstrated vertical, horizontal, and containment experiences structure our thought processes,2 but so does the "path" experience.

The "path" describes the way in which the unborn baby must travel through a narrow and pressing vagina before it emerges painfully into the too-bright light. In such a "path" we might recognize the mystical way of purgation, illumination, and union. We can also recognize the path structure in learning processes that direct us toward goals. It is a rare learning e3q:>erience that has us precipitately leap from idea to goal without moving through a process.

The birthing process, not quickly recognized because of what

appears as an illogical arrangement of her book, is Margery's mystical pilgrimage. Perhaps the reason for our failure to recognize the significance of birthing in The Book of Margery Kempe is comparable in some ways to the failure of people of her own time to understand the truths she discovered. Though giving birth to children was the only

reason for marriage recognized by the Church, the physical act was accorded no respect. Caroline Bynum's Jesus as Mother tells us that

"There was in the general society no mystique of motherhood; both








78

medical texts and exhortations to asceticism dwell on the horrors of pregnancy" (143). Its recognizable characteristics in Ivargeryls

discourse include: the male-mediated marriage, the bedded intimacy, the creatur's conception, the maternity clothing-white, attention-getting apparel--which added another layer to her already heavy burden of criticism, the breaking of water signified by drenching tears, the pain-racked cries of a woman in labor, and delivery of the book. The process is complete in her autobiography, if

not in its expected order. The sensual allusions of Bernard's kiss of conception, which he ended by preparing the Bride's lips, Margery has transformed into her own physical reality.

Though we mst train our ears to hear the Song, Margery' s

mysticism was awakened as she lay in her husband's bed and heard heavenly music. So should we, then, taking our cue from her, attune ourselves to the sounds in Margery' s book. All the critics agree with Margery's voice which denied heresy and affirmed orthodoxy, yet, the

question of "orthodoxy" is bound to the way Margery alters Bernard's sensory perception. The Book speaks a multi-voiced narrative--of tears, hysteria, faith--not the least of which is its subversion of the patriarchal mythos which contained the medieval Chiurch.

Tears, we are told, are unmanly; therefore, by default, they become womanly. Men see them as women's means of manipulation, as signs of weakness, as signs of emotionality in the eye/I of male

logic. Tears, though they could turn defeat into brilliant victory, are a less than forceful form of revolt. The fact, however, is that many comunicative meanings, some of which are very forceful, have








79

been attached to tears. Cultural conditioning can harness tears, but

Simone de Beauvoir I s The Second Sex sees them as a vcman I s ageless weapon in the battle of the sexes:

Tears are vcman's supreme alibi . . . she eludes the man who is contemplating her, powerless as before a cataract.
He considers this performance unfair; but she considers the struggle unfair frcm the start, because no other weapon has
been put into her hands. She is resorting once more to magic
conjuration. And the fact that her sobs infuriate the male
is me more reason for sobbing. (608-9)

From this reflection, then, we should remember that tears can be construed as a means of defiance as well as a Church-promoted

tradition of grace. And there may be more meaning here. H. M. Parsley, de Beauvoir's translator, chooses "contemplation" for the gazer and "magic conjuration" for the manipulator as equivalencies without mysticism in mind. These words dramatically demonstrate the problem Margery faced. "Contemplation" has associations with reverence of observance and is most commonly used among religious communities, whereas "mysticism" retains its muffled association with magic and the occult and is most commonly used among scholastic communities. The former is associated with the male; the latter with the female.

Furthermore, the "magic conjuration" seems to fit sociologists' constructs of mysticism as an operation that adds power to deprived individuals. If these observations are to be applied to Margery, we may note her defiance of the male-controlled divinity and her perception of power-deprivation as gender-based.

A question we cannot help asking is: haw did this woman acquire

such courage? Born Margery Burnham (or de Brunham) at Bishop's Lynn (now King's Lynn) to an unidentified mother and John Brunham, a








80

five-time mayor of the city who had also been a six-time member of Parliament, in Norfolk, England, the self-styled illiterate Margery dictated her autobiography in English to two scribes,3 the second of whom was one of her confessors and the general redactor of the whole work. The work of the two scribes shows a divided book. Its two parts are stylistically different. The first rambles and chats, revealing social illusions and pain-filled experiences together with a deep faith. The second observes and records in a distanced style.4 The book does not follow a chronological order or even the familiar frame of adult looking back at youth; instead it depends entirely on associational, memorial construction, spiralling time in more disconcerting ways than even Bernard did with his "reminiscence.,,

The Book of Margery Kempe has been the subject of much interest in recent years, primarily because of our desire to incorporate "her" story into history. Criticism has coalesced around Margery's tears, the most obviously disturbing feature of her book. For most modern readers, those abundant tears are the manifestations of a menopausal hysteric. More sympathetic readers, who tend to have more understanding of the time in which she lived, place her firmly within the Church tradition of tears. Strongly critical readers split between a general debasement of mysticism on sexual grounds and a specific debasement of Margery's mysticism in its fixed illuminative stage.6 The critical voices agree on a fascination for the book because of its vividness and, perhaps, because of its polarizing effect. By giving readers a secure position from which to express pontifical judgements, polarization might be considered a virtue. Margery's vividness,









81

though, seems directly descended fran St.* Bernard's love language and should give critics like Wolfgang Riehle7 no more cause for disgust than that of St. Bernard himself, although George Turn says that "It [Margery' s love language] appears more intense at times than the marriage metaphor in Bernard's Canticle de Canticorum" (45). Perhaps, though, such discomfort originates in an objection. to a woman using such language, or, perhaps, they inadvertently notice her infringement on the patriarchal tradition.

Focus

Since Margery's book, not the possible sexism of individual critics, is the subject of our discourse, we should t urn from that topic of speculation to the way it reflects and reacts against Church tradition. The way explored will be the mystical path--the familiar Bernardine path of the body. Opposing the general agreement of Margery' s orthodoxy, her own book demonstrates her subversion of Church hierarchy in at least ten ways, by:

1. identifying herself as a creatur.

2. refusing the way of silence.

3. a. escaping from conjugal relations

b. envisioning men as tempters.

4. refusing to attach herself to an order or to a Church as an

anchoress.

5. traveling alone on pilgrimages.

6. confessing direct auditions from Christ which often

circumvented orders from confessors and the wishes of bishops

and others.








82

7. hearing the confession of a monk and granting him

absolution.

8. performing miracles.

9. envisioning herself caring for and touching Christ.

10. showing reluctance to enter into mystical union with the

Godhead.

Since we will be reading the signs of her subversion, we need to admit a definition of the term. It is of somre importance to establish what its meaning will be here because some of its multiple meanings are of relatively recent acquisition. To be "subversive," there must be an order one wishes to overcome. Western patriarchal society is such an order. It is a hierarchy of gender propagated by the Hebrew, Christian, and Muslim religions. God is Vale power. God is good. He is the law. This law, we know, allowed men to "marry" many women. Solomon bad more than three hundred wives. Yet for any married woman who bad sexual intercourse with another man, even if it were rape, the punishment was death by stoning (Dt 22: 23-25), a practice continued in the days of Christ (John 8: 1-8). Frcm this beginning, the Christian religion extended God's power by using the body of a virgin as a creative tool for the man-God, Jesus. The duality of Christ was even mirrored in the duality of treatment of women in the Middle

Ages--Eve and the Virgin Mary. Whereas in Hebrew tradition women were property which reflected the good/evil of their owners (fathers/husbands), in Christian tradition they are seducers--symbols of sin, whom Christ forgives. Islam, too, shares a gendered hierarchy of good and evil. The Qur'an declares women's inferiority except in








83

their superior sinfulness caused by a sexuality which they must hide rather than be the means by which "Pure" men could sin. One Sura8, as quoted in Stone, says:

men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. So good vcaL-n are obedient, guarding the
unseen parts as God guarded them. (4: 31)

The sexuality of m~en, thus, translates into an index of their power and wealth; the sexuality of women translates into a sin punishable by death. This patriarchy, then, is the order Margery's tears and activities subvert.

Though subversion is usually a term which we denote as upsetting or overthrowing an existing government, Margery' s language displays that element which seeks to displace traditionally male modes of representation with her female one. Done quietly on her own or within the devalued feminine institutions of the convents, such displacement might not be viewed as unusual; done loudly within the male-dominant social comnity and distracting the male-ordered religious community, Margery 's activity must be considered subversive. That she was subversive in at least ten different ways-from refusing the way of silence to performing miracles and to holding back frcm mystical

union-should, then, qualify her as an arch-subversive.

Before exploring those subversions, though, we should give

further attention to her chief means of subversion-the tradition of

Christian tears. The medieval audience would have been familiar with the Sermons on the Mo~unt wherein Jesus explains his approach to tears and laughter. His third beatitude (after the poor and the hungry) is for those who cry: "Blest are you who are weeping; you shall laugh"








84

(Luke 6: 21) .9 He does not describe the extent of the weeping nor its social acceptance, but does accept it as a means for his blessing. Margery did not speak much about the goal of laughter which weeping brings except that upon her first audition of paradise she said, "It is ful mery in Hevyn" (11). laughter in the other world was a prcanise that she received. Heaven might be a place of laughter and merrymaking, but this world was not. On occasion Margery was adnnonished for laughter because it was not a holy custom. She was also much criticized for her crying, umstly because of its abundance and its loudness. St. Bernard's serumon, "On the Steps of Humility and Pride" (Bernard 99), well-received in English nxnastic oonmuities, rebuked laughter and noise, so the criticism of her was within Church tradition, too. The Bible certainly shows little laughter, but various examples of tears are there. Luke's gospel shows Jesus in the hcae of

the Pharisee where a woman

known in the town to be a sinner . . . stood behind him at his feet [ Jesus was probably dining in the recumbent fashion, weeping so that her tears fell upon his feet.
Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and
perfuming them with oil. (Luke 7: 37-38)

Her weeping did not appear to bother Jesus; in fact, he used her as an example of love and faith. It will not do, however, to equate the apparently quiet tears of the vwan known to be a sinner with the tears of Margery Kempe. The sinner' s weeping, for instance, was not continuous since she was able to dry his feet; nor, to be perhaps unduly realistic, was it loud, or Jesus would not have been heard telling the parable of gratitude.

But we might equate the tradition of this sinner with Margery's

difficulties. Folk tradition, despite Church protestations, identifies








85

the sinner as Mary Magdelene. She inspired Christ's forgiveness, as when he said:

I tell you that is why her many sins are
forgiven-because of her great love. (Luke 8: 44-47)

Mary Magdalene' s human unions produced no known offspring, the cnly justification recognized by the Church, but her intercourse promotes forgiveness. The Virgin whose "being proclaims the greatness of the Lord" (Luke 1: 46), on the other hand, produces a child of divinity without sexual intercourse. This patriarchal Christian legacy to wczen clearly demonstrates the Madonna-whore syndrome which is one more cause for tears. Either the wcman keeps producing children for only one male without sullying herself by sexual intercourse, which makes her "good," even divine; or she has no children and desires many men, which makes her "bad" and in need of forgiveness from the divine male. By default, then, all woien are "bad" and need forgiveness. 'What is different about Margery in such cultural conditioning is that she does not seem to require forgiveness from any man except the Christ in her head.

We should not, however, equate Christ's thrice-mentioned tears in the gospels with Margery 's tumultuous weeping any more than we identify her torrents with the sinner's quiet tears. Christ's approach was circumspect rather than profuse in the incidents of disillusion, death, and apprehension-the only identified scenes in the gospels of Christ weeping. For instance, in his messianic entry into Jerusalem, "Comning within sight of the city, he wept over it . . . [because Jerusalemj failed to recognize the time of . . . visitation" (Luke 19: 41-44). There may, however, be an unrecognized similarity in the cause









86

for tears. Jesus's weeping, like Margery's, acknowledged the lack of faith, not only in Pharisees, but also among the Hebrews. Again, in discussing the "Raising of Lazarus," John's gospel does not indicate loudness but deep emotions:

When Jesus saw her [Mary, sister of Lazarus] weeping, and the Jews who had accompanied her also weeping, he was troubled in spirit, moved by the deepest emotions.
(John 11: 33)

Jesus's empathy caused his sadness, but the Jews' tears were for the ironic situation which they perceived. In their estimation Jesus,

the Christ who could have saved Lazarus, had not arrived in time to do so. Theirs was a logical assumption since Lazarus had been dead four days, but they lacked faith. Such a demonstration revealed, then, a further reason for Jesus's tears was the Jews' lack of faith. They

were unable to conceive of a savior who could restore a man who was dead and explained that "Jesus began to weep" because it was a measure of "'how much he loved him " (John 11: 35-36). It is not a question of how many tears are shed. It is a question of faith over logic, the same choice that St. Bernard had made choosing rhetoric instead of dialectic as an affective decision. Christ shed tears when he

perceived the lack of faith. Margery Kempe recognized the choice and shed tears at what she perceived to be her own lack of faith and that lack in others.

Just as tears express the mind's perceptions, they also express the physical pain felt by the body. Thus, the third instance of Christ's tears occurred on the Mount of Olives/Garden of Gethsemane

(Mt/Mk) just prior to his Passion. This instance provides the now familiar metaphoric grouping of "blood, sweat, and tears." From the








87

body's pain, Christ's sweat of blood may be perceived as tears, which symbolically presage the blood and water that fell from Christ's side during the crucifixion, and-lest we forget-may be perceived as parallel to a woman's flux during childbirth:

In his anguish he prayed with all the, greater
intensity, and his sweat became like drops of blood
falling on the ground. (Luke 22: 44)

Christ's mental "labor," perhaps even foreknowledge, produces physical pain. His sacrifice for love and of love takes tangible form, and as

the delivery of death is imminent the pain moves him to "tears. 11 In Mathew's gospel, Jesus spoke from the garden: "My heart is nearly broken with sorrow" (26: 38). Similarly, in Mark's gospel, he told his disciples: "My heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death" (14: 34). The Synoptic Gospels expose emotional anguish as motive for Jesus's tears-a familiar reason. But John's gospel proposes the content of his prayers prior to arrest without any exposition of his physical or emotional state. The language presents these tears in terms of great physical suffering, but the question remains: were they the result of actual physical distress or the anticipation of it? The answer that emerges is that Christ's tears were co-optive,

participating parts of the pain he was experiencing in his body-a pain that 'was far worse than any to be inflicted upon him. Like Jesus, Margery agonized by her foreknowledge of the damned, experienced the

bodily pain that produced tears. Unlike Jesus, Margery's tears loudly demanded attention.

But clearly, sign of grace as they may have been, the sound of tears did not appeal to men of the medieval Church. The sound of tears, related to actual physical suffering, offended them. The Church








88

tradition of accepting tears as a sign of grace supposedly influenced Margery's second scribe to accept her crying himself, despite a

Franciscan's preaching to the contrary. The scribe's attention had been drawn to a precedent established by Jacques de Vitry's (1215)

vita on. Mary of Oignies which taught tolerance of weeping to a priest. Recently, Patricia Kurtz identifies this vita and me on Christine the

Marvelous as "anti-heretical documents" want to affirm behavior as orthodox which the Cathars bad discredited. In the.vita a priest requested Mary of Oignies to leave the church because her loud crying disturbed his mass. We might acknowledge here that the Franciscan did the sane to Margery. There is no evidence, however, that Mary cried for twenty-five years or more, as did Margery, nor evidence that she rolled and writhed in paroxysms of tears, as did Margery, despite the tears of anguish which accompanied her self-imposed starvation due to Christ's death, her sins, and those of others. She, too, cried "as a woman in childbirth," but died singing (193). Kurtz also provides evidence of Mary using her wits and her prayers to foil demons in others, including the same priest who had excluded her. Afflicted with a single case of drenching tears during mass, this priest received an

ironic lesson in compassion.

Christine, the Marvelous, on. the other hand, bad such strange experiences that crying could almost be discounted by comparison. Thomas de Cantimpre recorded what seems to be her near-death experience. During her funeral, witnesses described her "astonishing" flight about the rafters of the church. Our own vision of masochism is raised to new heights vhen we consider some of Christine's acts of








89

penitential violence: baking herself in ovens and boiling herself in cauldrons, even hanging herself for "a day or two" (192). For all these reasons she experienced anguished crying "as a woman in childbirth" (189). It seems an interesting trope paralleled by both Mary and Christine's male biographers that the wetness of tears which cover the ground is described in terms of the product of sexual intercourse-the breaking of water in childbirth. Their pathway to mystical union, was the way of women, as men who followed Bernard's conception described that way in metaphoric terms.

Margery Kempe, unlike the male biographers, experienced the

physical realities of childbirth. Married at about the age of twenty

to John Kempe, Margery said that she gave birth to fourteen children by about the age of forty. Since lawful progeny is the Church-declared purpose of the procreative act and confirms the sanctity of motherhood, it seems odd that Margery referred to only one of her children-the first-in just the painful terminology of traumatic delivery. It is true that she mentioned the conversion of her married son and his subsequent death at her house later in the book, but there is a possibility that he was the same child generated in the opening pages of the book. In fact her first sentence told of the child's conception, and her second sentence delivered him:

And aftyr Dat sche had conceyued, sche was labowrd
wyth grett accessys tyl De chylde was born, & Dan, what
for labowr sche had in chyldyng & for sekenesse goyng beforn, sche dyspered of hyr lyfe, wenyng sche mygth
not leuyn. (6)

Christ's appearance at her bed cured the post partum illness she suffered for some time after this delivery. Nowhere else are her children mentioned. Nowhere else does she reveal her human motherhood,








90

though she does recount Christ informing her of the pregnancy of her fourteenth child and his precise that the child would be her last. But if she had known that this traumatic initiation of her body would be repeated fourteen more times the racking tears of her later years, which would be her salvation, would have begun sooner than on Calvary c.1413 during ber pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Why does Margery say nothing of her children? Perhaps pain like that can only be felt and not described. Certainly, it was a Calvary that Bernard could only have observed. As he established God's activity of mothering, purity of doctrine flows from the preaching breasts of the Bride. His use of "maternal imagery for male figures" (Bynum 221 138) appropriates a mother's influence an children. But he can only write about motherhood; Margery experienced it. The later

Middle Ages, though, present us with even more couplexity as misogyny escalated and clerical roles were more firmly articulated as the male dominion.10 In any case, Margery Ken-pe was a singular individual, a

human being finding her ovn way to God. She may have been fourteen times a mother, but that identity was not the spiritual identity expressed in her autobiography.

Margery gave birth to herself. We can see this, first of all, in the way she refers to herself. If naming is part of the creative

process, we may well ask: to what extent does she give birth to herself? She begins her book by calling herself the creature. We can, of course, accept this particular naming as just one of the quirks in a quirky book. But with our present-day knowledge, it seem a rather nonchalant sort of scholarship that stops short of exploring a








91

self-assumed title. At face value, the word signifies an animal, which shows how debased she felt.* The word choice might satisfy the male hierarchical requirement for humility (a too-convenient method of control). It might present the contrast between herself and the hero-figure of Christ. OnT the other hand, the word contains much larger implications. For instance, it also denotes anything which is created, so that the persona of Margery may be revealed by this word choice as a "creation." An interesting cultural offshoot from the Latin is the Spanish word criar (to nurse). The creature is the

handiwork of the creator and is both child and mother, nursing and nourishing. Bernard's full-breasted Bride is, thus, contained in Margery's epithet. Whether she sees herself as created by the society

in which she lives, by the God frcm wham she distanced herself, or by her own imagination is left to the reader to decide.

An etymological point of further interest is that "creature"

derives from the feminine Late Latin creatura, as does "create." The other Late Latin word which means the same as "create" is the masculine creator! creatoris (OED). By selecting the creatur appellation, Margery Kempe initiated a division within the book-an implicit questioning of her role as creator of children and of language opposing the imposition of her role as created thing and as debased feminine animal. Given such opposition, it can be inferred that she subverted the male position of "creator" by creating her book from the inky flux of her male amanuenses. This birth metaphor might be continued through the breaking of her waters-the tears that persisted for mo~re than twenty-five years. Margery's first act of subversion, then, was to call herself a creatur of God.








92

The second act was vocalization. She would be heard at a time vhen men preached, ordered, satirized, and castigated wmn in order to muzzle them and keep them subordinate. Hope Allen says that Margery, together with Julian of Norwich, broke "a long tradition of feminine silence in England" (Meech & Allen, lxii). This point cannot be emphasized enough. Her voice-wiman' a voice-pierced the mystical tradition of silence, echoed through the cloistered Cistercian walls, and was taken up by other women. It was only after Margery and Julian that the affective tradition was widely translated into a literary vision for women's mystical experiences. The difference between these two wmn, though, is approach. Margery was loud. She was obnoxious to the system and would be obnoxious to modern sensibilities. Jul ian, who followed the mo~re conventional path of becoming an anchoress, presented a quiet, more acceptable form of mysticism. on the back cover of Julian's Revelations of Divine Love (Image, 1977), for instance, a modern advertiser informs us that Julian was "no would-be visionary, but a responsible, serious woman." The "would-be visionary" must have been Margery, who was Jul ian' s contemporary and as unlike Julian as another woman could be. The noisy, vocal Margery' s seriousness was questioned, and she was charged with "irresponsibility" by various clerics of her day. She emphasized the second stage of mysticism, illumination, wherein the soul-Aquinas identifies as mind--participates in visions, sounds, or spiritual colloquies. Though Julian, too, experienced visions or "showings," she emphasized mystical union--the goal of all contemplative experience and one bereft of sensuality, and, one assumes, overt-and









93

audible--evidence that union had been accomplished. Margery, the subversive, refused the role of silence.

What was really loud about Margery was her crying. Her tears were the crux of the problem for her, for her contemporaries, for her

readers. Though she identified her "crying" stage as lasting ten years, her weeping life totaled about twenty-five years and went through several stages: profuseness, loud crying and uncontrollable paroxysms, and gentle tears. The profuse weeping started during the three years of sexual temptation11 which followed her first audition of heavenly music, probably between 1407 and 1410. This dating is enabled because Margery's two business ventures--brewing and milling--were concluded before the audition.12 The "crying" stage, with its attendant birthing throes, as previously mentioned started on Calvary c.1413:

Fyrst whan sche had hir cryingys at Ierusalem, sche had
hem oftyntymes, & in Rome also. &, whan sche come hcm in-to Inglonde . . . as God wolde visiten hir, sumtyme
in pe cherch, sumtyme in 1e strete, sumtyme in e chawmbre,
sumtyme in De felde whan God wold sendyn hem, for sche
knew neuyr tyme ne owyr whan Dei xulde come. & ei come
neuyr wyth-owtyn passyng gret swetnesse of deuocyon & hey
contemplacyon. (69)

The quiet tears came later in her life and continued, presumably, until her death c.1439. It is possible, therefore, to posit between twenty-five and thirty-two years of penitential weeping to Margery.

Margery herself, dictating to her scribes, tells how her weeping disturbed the masses given at St. Margaret's Church in Lynn. She described how the congregation became disgusted by her loud interruptions and urged the priests to eject her from the Church. For




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EBT8L5TMD_CO4458 INGEST_TIME 2017-07-20T21:15:24Z PACKAGE UF00102731_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES



PAGE 1

SONGS OF SILENCE: THE AFFECTION FOR BRIDE AND :OODY IN THE RHETORIC OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, MARGERY KEMPE, AND TERESA OF JESUS By CLAIRE F. BRUNETTI A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILI.MENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF OOCI'OR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1991

PAGE 2

Copyright 1991 by Claire F. Brunetti

PAGE 3

For My Family

PAGE 4

ACKNOWLECGMENTS I would like to thank the English department of the University of Florida for their willingness to sponsor my research into the rhetoric of Christian mysticism. For his expertise, wisdom, and guidance, R. A. Shoaf has earned my deepest gratitude. I am indebted to Marie Nelson who not only encouraged my exploration of the contemplative dimension and gave in-depth corranentaries on the various stages of these chapters, but also shared her own rhetorical work as she wrote it. To a brilliant and nost professional professor, Ion Ault, I owe my "aultered" reading perceptions as well as frequent inspirational conversations. I also appreciate the thoughtful readings of Ira Clark and his knowledge of sacred writings. My special thanks goes to the vbmen's Studies group of the university, whose Tybel Spivak scholarship enabled the completion of this research within my limitations of time. Various other individuals have aided my research. For his letter of introduction to the canrelites of Spain, I thank John Snyder, Bishop of St. Augustine. To Baltasar Fra-Molinero I am grateful for his expertise in the literature of Spain. For the wonderful illustrations, I thank Clifford Brunetti, my son. For his readings, useful suggestions, and his patience, special thanks go to my husband, Michael. iv

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOh'LEI:X;MENTS. i V ABSTRACT. vi INTRODUCTION. 1 CHAPTERS 1 SENSE OF SILENCE: ST. BERNARD'S RHETORICAL KISS 20 2 SOUNDS OF SUBVERSION: MARGERY KEMPE'S UNORTHOIXJX WEEPING 76 3 SWORD OF SILENCE: THE C'ONCEPrIONS OF ~,"['. TERESA OF AVILA 128 AFTERWORD. . 199 WORKS CITED. . . . . 209 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 216 V

PAGE 6

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Ix>ctor of Philosophy SONGS OF SILENCE: THE AFFECTION FOR BRIDE AND BODY IN THE RHEI'ORIC OF BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, MARGERY KEMPE, AND TERESA OF JESUS Chairman: R. A. Shoaf Major Department: English By Claire F. Brunetti December 1991 The erotic implications of the Song of Songs provide the rhetoric for the Christian affective tradition of "love." The allegorical reading of Christ as Bridegroom and soul as Bride participates in two reflexive processes: the silent body's way of knowing and the cultural process of gendering. Knowing through the body involves spatial movement: vertical regard, horizontal socialization, personal containment, and birthing process. CUltural gendering imposes dichotomies of value on these movements. Within such dichotomies, the mystics formUlate persuasion advocating the audience's and their own gender transference and depend upon body knowledge as a source of appeal. The purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, it records the cataphatic "love" language directed at Christ's body which mystics from three different centuries employed. Second, it shows the metaphorical patterns of the rhetoric as a process by which language vi

PAGE 7

provides a sensual experience of myth shared by genders and cultures via sexuality. Though speculations of an origin of the "mystical union" experience are explored, the issue of "divine" presence remains open sincse this study is literary, not theological. Beginning with St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), 'Whose Sermons on the Song of Songs appropriate the female metaphor of the Bride, erotic rhetoric effects Christian conversion. Bernard's "kiss" sermons weave rhetorical strategies with his mysticism. Margery Kernpe's (1373?-1440?) spiritual autobiography cries out the effects of the Bernardine tradition. Margery's visionary life with Christ together with her subversive tears ease the birth of her rhetorical autonomy. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) persuaded her nuns in Meditations on the Song of Songs to experience God on their own. She altered their perspective fran brides to children sucking at the breasts of God and to men using the "sword of contemplation." The metaphoric patterns used by these three imply creativity as a repeated allegory of Genesis 'Which blames the woman for forbidden sexuality. vii

PAGE 8

INTRODUCTION The rhetoric of Christian mysticism, i.e. contemplation, has been at the root of controversy since the first century. D::!tractors have charged mystics with heresy; they have seen mysticism as a sensual form of demonic possession, a psychological instability such as hysteria or a means of orgasm, and have identified it as elitist or eccentric, which uses an emotionally based language rather than an intellectually based one. Individuals identified as Christian mystics have firmly claimed that they are true Christians, that they draw their inspiration fran an asensual knowledge of divinity, accessible to any person, regardless of gender, age, status, race; that theirs is a divine rhetoric and, as such, is a political weapon. The controversy remains unresolved, and indeed is itself one main reason for the continuing interest of theologians and historians--and now psychologists, cultural anthropologists, linguists, phenornenologists, and genderists as well. Manuscript discoveries of the 193Os, followed by rrore recently introduced approaches to the early texts to be considered here provide, as would seem immediately apparent, reason for further controversy. That further controversy, examined with close attention to the language used by disputants, can provide opportunity to exercise our ability to question customary pronouncements of meaning. The rhetoric to be examined here is that of individuals who lived in Christian communities. The texts to be considered have been 1

PAGE 9

2 conserved by Christian religious groups. This, however, does not mean that the only lessons to l::e learned from those texts must be learned by readers who are themselves devoted primarily to the greater glory of God. Granted, this was the overt intention of Bernard of Clairvaux, Margery Kempe, and Teresa of Avila, but texts have a certain indeterminacy. '!hey reflect, often without their writers intentions that they should do so, the cultures in which they were canposed as well as their authors' particular sensibilities. And consideration of affective mystical literature can be especially challenging with respect to the relationship l::etween the individual who writes and the culture in which s/he lives. Mystical literature reaches beyond culture even as it reflects it, l::ecause it expresses and extends love to the communal universe of sound through the parallel silent uni/verse "single song" of the individual. The lx>dy sings itself, and the vehicle of its tenor is often Christ's own body. For corporeal lyrics, affective Crristian mystics turn to the Song of Songs, unanimously agreeing on its beauty and its inspired source. By using the Song, they continue its eroticism rut brace it with a spiritual interpretation. Their compositions thus became paradoxical, and their paradoxes l::ecorre grounds for controversy. The Song permits at least two allegorical readings. The first holds that Christ is the Bridegroan and the soUl is the Bride; while the second, also well established by tradition, holds that the communal church is the Bride. One problem with either interpretation is that the function of the Bridegroom is to sexually consunmate

PAGE 10

3 union, and the tradition of Christ is that though his gender designation is "male," he is not sexually active. Another problem is the language's encouragement of sexual desire while the patristic tradition simultaneously labels such desire as "carnal," which nay only l::e tolerated for the propagation of the species. A third problem is gender-specific. How is a nan who loves Christ to express corporeal love without homo-eroticism becoming an issue of the language? How does a married woman, no longer allied with her own husband, express corporeal love without recourse to the remembered intimacy of married life? How does a virgin with little practical experience with intimacy express corporeal love? These are soma of the problems of expression built into the affective Christian mystical literature. Perhaps the greatest problem with which a writer on the literature of "mysticism" must deal, however, is a definition of the tenn itself. Mysticism may l::e defined as a secret knowledge of God, as love of God, or as a receptivity to union with God during one's life. The closely related word, "contemplation" will l::e used as a near-synonym for "mysticism" here l::ecause it carries such maanings as "being aware of," "looking at" divinity, and meditating on God with "attention and thought." Thus, as a mystical action in Christianity, contemplation partakes of the love which is God. God is a priori to mystics, and here at least they are undeniably within the confines of Christian faith. Within Christian theology, God is the first person of the trinity and the creator. What mystical theology adds is description of ways to God. Untrained in these ways, any person may have a unitive experience precipitated usually, though not always, by

PAGE 11

4 nature, music, ritual, sex, or words, in any surroundings, among people or alone, during routine or intense activity. It is usually of short duration but leaves a lasting longing in the mystic for a permanent experience. Persons trained in contemplation mJVe through stages. Three basic stages are purgation, in which is realized the inadequacy of the human state and the particular knowledge and sacrifice of one's own weaknesses; illumination, by which one is instantly aware of God's logic of love through vision, audition, or intuition; and union, by which the personality is joined by God so that an aspect of divinity is experienced according to the capacity of the mystic. These three stages have been variously divided and categorized through the centuries. In sixteenth-century Spain, St. Teresa of Jesus napped the mystical way as seven stages: recollection, quiet, union, ecstasy, rapture, pain of God, and spiritual marriage. Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) describes five stages: awakening, purgation, illumination, "dark night of the soul" (which she borrowed from St. John of the Cross), and union. "Meditation," which may l::e defined as the exercising of the xrentality concerning an object, is not part of the mysticism to which this study is directed. "Contemplation," however, because of its near-synonymity with "mysticism" itself will receive primary attention. There are two basic fonns of Christian contemplation, cataphatic and apophatic. They correspond to the via affinnativa and via negativa. The first exrerges from faith in the immanent God; it is, therefore, oriented toward the incarnation. Subjects of incarnational

PAGE 12

5 contemplation range fran the historical life of Christ to fantasies of bis body. For instance, the fantasies of the Puritan minister, Fiiward Taylor, and the conflated myths of William Blake present a lavish poetics of incamational contemplation. "Inmanence" is taken to rrean the "in-dwelling," that is, the informed presenc-e of God, whether that be in the mystic's heart or in all of creation. '!he second form of contemplation is apophatic and seeks God by way of negation, denying that the material world is God, denying human descriptions of God, denying the limitations of space. This form is oriented toward God's "emanation, 11 that is, toward the hidden God, whether that be coded among the permutations of letters and numbers or by attributes bonded to the elements. It requires the mystic to enter a state of unknowing, a darJmess that strips the consciousness of its humanness, of its body, and thrusts it backwards into the cloud of God, who is no thing describable. The roots of apophatic mysticism can be discerned in Plato, Plotinus, and the Pseudo-Dionysius, author of Divine Names and Mystical Theology. This study focuses on the via affirmativa, on the contemplation of the in-dwelling God. That is, it shows the cataphatic form of mysticism within an affective incamational tradition. What we human beings Jmow, if the conclusions of Mark Johnson are to be accepted, is always in terms of the body, though what we Jmow is by no rreans limited to the body. OUr Jmowledge of the body is culturally prescribed so we must admit its limitations. One major source of pain and pleasure for the European/American culture, in which I participate, is its belief in love. '!he two expressions of love which

PAGE 13

6 have had the most impact are, first, the God/Christ spiritual expression, and second, the human body's sexual expression. The historical point of intersection is the medieval period when both Christianity and sexuality were institutionalized. So this is my starting point. With the Reformation came controversy concerning the issue of the individual interpretation of Christianity based on the Bible and experimentation in sexual ethics. Sexual imagery was the m2taphor for the workings of grace, and the Song of Songs was its biblical basis. Spain, the country 'Whose culture colored the mystical experience of St. Teresa, cannot be said to have experienced a Reformation. Nevertheless, it still reacted to the questions the Reformation raised. This country's tunnoil becane a macrocosm of the suppression that individuals were experiencing. Here the wild witch hunts of Spain's northern neighbors were institutionalized by the Inquisition, and hence, as I consider the -writing of st. Teresa, discussion of this controversy will enter, even as I attempt to focus primarily on the words she -wrote. But the Reformation also brought a new interest in language. As Aristotle defined it, "rhetoric" was "the faculty of discovering in the particular case 'What are the available m2ans of persuasion" (Rhetoric 7). His O'Wil influence on the history of rhetoric during the medieval and renaissance periods may, as Jarres J. Murphy claims, have been minimal, but that of Pseudo-Cicero's Ad Herennium is indisputable. Since some of the terms of that work will be useful in discussion of the texts to be examined here, it will l:e well to define

PAGE 14

7 them. Its rhetorical divisions include inventio, dispositio, and elocutio. Inventio, the selection of topic and materials suitable to the audience, the writer, and purpose of the work; dispositio, the arrangement of the work and its proofs; elocutio, the style of the work as "grand," "middle," and "plain," are the basic divisions of written rhetoric. To elocutio belong the figura of diction, which embellish by means of word appearance and placement, and of thought, which embellish by ireans of troping the word into other ireanings and ideas. Though the mystics in this study have an unequal formal education in rhetoric, they all employ it because, as George Kennedy writes, "Wherever persuasion is the end, rhetoric is present" (7). This study, then, makes use of classical definitions in its examination of the written texts of three remarkable Christian mystics: St. Bernard, Margery Kempe, and Teresa of Jesus. It also demonstrates that the rhetoric of those three individuals, despite the differences imposed by their respective cultures, participates in two reflexive processes: the silent bodily process of knowing and the cultural process of gendering. In doing so, it describes the "love" language which cataphatic mystics fran three different countries employed, how they used that rhetoric and for what purpose. Furthermore, this study also attempts to synthesize that rhetorical record as a heuristic device by which we add to our knowledge about the human mind's dependency on the manipulation of words to form sensual impressions impacted by sexuality. 'Ihus it contributes, it is to be hoped, to a history of sexuality that is now being written.

PAGE 15

8 It will be prudent to acJmowledge that the terminology for discussing such a history is emotionally charged. "Gender" my not be as layered with distracting connotations as "sex" in determining the biological status of the mystic as mle or female. But "male" and "female" activities call for cultural evaluation. This has long been the case. Gregory the Great, for instance, in his world view sets the standard of the "weak female" in close proximity to "flesh" and "sin" while his "strong male" has proximity to "spirit" and "virtue" (Straw 54). The terms "masculine" and "feminine" are also loaded with culturally imposed roles. Masculine mm are thought to be big, virile, and action-oriented. Feminine WOirEn are self-effacing, delicate, and home-oriented. For example, in Marion Homer's 1968 research "65% of the women studied showed anxiety over success because they anticipated that success in competitive achieveioont activity, especially against men, produced social rejection and loss of femininity" (Conn 19). Even "man" and "woman" have problems. Some critics of the language have considered generic "man" to be a fraud foisted upon our society as but another linguistic means to subjugate women. It is, perhaps, not necessary to be this polemic, but, just as deliberately replacing all generic "he's" with "she's" reveals the non-inclusiveness of "he," so does the failure of any man to consider himself included in "woman" shows the reason for objection to generic "man" and "he." If contemporary English presents such problems of reference, it will not be surprising to find that the languages with which the mystic's relationship to the Bridegroom presents particular problems

PAGE 16

9 to a twentieth-century reader. These problems are neither insunoountable nor unique. A woman of the fourteenth-century struggling to make herself as important as a man had to deal with age-old, linguistically determined perceptions of hierarchical position. Twentieth-century wo:rren have had the benefit of a consciousness-raising movement. Some of our extraordinary predecessors, fictional and historical, however, sean to have gained s0100 of the things we have recently learned through their own individual efforts. It may be that Aristophanes imagined the characters for Lysistrata by inverting the norms, but the SUnerian texts inform us that the "dominant partner" in the hieros gaioos {sacred marriage) was the goddess not the god. Henri Frankfort mentions that "texts fran Isin leave no doubt that the initiative was ascribed to her" (Stone 137). Political power rested with the priestesses of such goddesses, and their power of persuasion was the sexual act. It takes little imagination to be aware of historical precedent and may even have empowered a few Greek wo:rren as the IOOdels for Aristophanes' satire on rhetoric. Throughout history status has been part of the issue of rhetoric and gender. One of the questions I will not attempt to answer here has to do with the issue of whether mystical union, a form of "divine" presence ascertained by the human recipient, is imagined, real, or a fulfillment of psycho-sexual needs. I will say, however, that for Bernard, Margery, and Teresa all of those particulars combine to create an incontrovertible validity to their testimony. Though speculations of an origin of the "mystical union" experience are

PAGE 17

10 explored, the issue remains open because this study is dedicated to the scholarly exploration of literature and does not attempt theological pronouncerrent. Since the mind is the translating medium, I do occasionally refer to the God or Christ in a mystic's mind. The distinction is made to show the singularity of that mystic's perception as opposed to a communal perception. The criteria for my selection of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Margery Kempe, and St. Teresa of Jesus were standard. In considering the texts that have cone down to us, I have been particularly interested in the influence of the Song of Songs, in the affective tradition as differing fran the scholastic tradition, in the cataphatic approach as differing from the apophatic, in persuasiveness as measured by effect on the culture, in originality in roodifying the Song's tradition, and in the II'!YStics' age, status, and gender. The selection was, thus, narrowed fran the wealth of the world's mystical literature and religions to focus on the cultures with which I am most familiar. Serre extraordinary mystics had to be eliminated, Julian of Norwich, Mechthild of M:lgdeburg, ~ister Eckhart, St. John of the Cross, William Blake, Edward Taylor (whose inclusion would undoubtedly spark controversy), and others. In surveying the criteria, I noticed two biases related to maturity: (1) a II'!Ystic's credibility is assured with age, and (2) the creative energy of mature people is regarded as odd. For instance, the aged Margery was known for her healing, especially of women suffering postpartum trauma. People turned to her for her prayers when they were in trouble. But as a younger woman, she was despised and ridiculed.

PAGE 18

11 Descriptions of the mystics remark on the unusual aioount of energy they displayed in their older years, as if older adUlts were not known for such energy. For instance Teresa's biographer includes the COIIlrellts of a nun contemporary with her: "She was never idle," quotes E. Allison Peers (Mother 214). Perhaps, the astonishment at the energy of Teresa and the other mystics is reactionary to the comoonplace of contemplative passivity to which Evelyn Underhill refers when she remarks: "We see already how far astray are those who look upon the mystical temperam:mt as passive in type" (49). Consideration of the two biases leads to questions arising from the other criteria--status and gender--and the related question of aesthetic judgment. Originally, the status of the mystics was not a high priority, but I noticed an emphasis on status in the texts. The question that developed was: toes status have anything to do with their experiences and need to communicate? It definitely affects their believability. In m:>st marriages of the past, the individual did not exist; the partners becane one body in Christ, and the head of that body was the man. The wanan's head disappeared. Individual freedom, though, has a way of asserting itself; literature is one of such ways. Since St. Bernard is the sumnit of the affective tradition, and he appropriated the female metaphor of the Bride, I wondered how women woUld treat it. The female variations on Bernard's IIEtaphor show the mystic as bedded spouse, confidante, and nursing child to Christ, the 100ther. Finally, how nruch effect does the gender of a mystic have on the COOIIIlunity's opinion of the reliable quality of that person's literature? Not surprisingly, waren's literature has been generally

PAGE 19

12 degraded. Laclc of education and traditional roles are the nominal reasons. The quality of the literature seems unaffected by gender, though much affected by education. Symbolic content is similar in all the works, though structural expertise parallels educational level. Rhetorical deployxrent is equally effective. Political and doctrinal topics are explored in all of the literature. The mystics coUld be outspoken or enigmatic depending on the strictures of their society. The question, then, of aesthetic judgment is again a perception, as we must acknowledge, conditioned by our cUlture. Proximity to the apex of Classical Greek cUlture appears to be the standard by which we judge art. The closer to Dionysiun theology mystical literature moved, the more its beauty is recognized. For power of persuasion, however, the body rhetoric of affective mysticism cannot be rivaled. Though only St. Bernard and St. Teresa wrote specifically on the Song (Margery Kempe was out of step in that respect), they each assumed the bridal metaphor and the erotic language of the Song. Since Margery's genre was visionary autobiography, she appropriately joined the Song's eroticism to her daily scenes and mixed them with Christ's life. Her mind was itself a reflection of the Song, and she persuaded many others of her revelations about and from Christ. To return, then, to the question of explicit use of the Song, Bernard's Sermons on the Song of Songs are of foremost importance. Incorporating Origen and St. Augustine, Bernard's rhetorical masterpiece has been the greatest single influence on this tradition. Each of the other mystics knew of Bernard's sermons frcm sermons and counsel in their own countries. St.

PAGE 20

13 Teresa used her Meditations to teach the women under her influence to accept God's language the way that they found it and to trust their own judgeirent. The first negates the accepted teachings on sexuality as source of evil; the second negates male authority of interpretation. Using maternal imagery, Teresa subverted the dicta of the day not to preach or teach, especially from the Song of Songs. The reader can expect to find a certain inconsistency of expression in this study. At times s/he may find the language over-bold, at others noncommittal. The reasons, as far as I understand them, lie in my personal background and my recent introduction to feminist criticism. As a dual citizen of England and the United States whose rrother was born in Spain, father in England, with an American husband of Italian descent and Francophile tendencies, I have long teen exposed to various perspectives, not the least of which was the duality of religion of my childhood. My elder sister is Anglican according to my father's wishes. My father was a staunch Anglican with Calvinist tendencies; my mother was Roman Catholic and left rre in the hands of contemplative teaching nuns for my early educational experiences. As a feminist, I enjoy recovering neglected or forgotten texts and attempt to discover the cultural values implied by female representations. As a dialogic, I see all texts as part of the ongoing discourse among individuals and cultures. As a phenornenologist, I believe that an author's patterns of perception composing that person's reality are within the text. As a deconstructionist, I see the ways that a text turns back on itself undoing the very themes that my New Critical rent often identifies. As

PAGE 21

14 a grateful but unpartisan Freudian, I see the Id as harboring the sexual/destructive urges that present themselves in the Pleasure Principle. As a reader-response critic, I see the gaps in the text that allow for variety of interpretation, but I do l:elieve that it is the responsibility of the reader to sul:mit to what can be learned from close study of an individual text. With the New Historicists I see literature not only as reflecting its culture but also as creating culture, though my bias is toward the individual text rather than amassing a melange. I feel no "shame-faced subjectivity" nor admit to any other bias than enjoying mystical literature and admiring the energy it exhibits. Sexuality is not an embarrassing subject to me, nor is it a particular concern except as it seems to 1:e a source of increasing violence and exploitation in this culture. On a political level, language has ever persuaded by its appeal to our egos but also by its heavily weighted sexual/spiritual components. My approach is to place the writers within their cultures, which I identify as the locus of each; to focus on a particular text, defining its concerns and its risks; to give a close rhetorical reading of that text. Perhaps, though, an axe must be honed on the Christian/sexual/political tree of sacrifice. Reading eroticism and political persuasion in a Christian text is an uncanfortable process for a Christian. It has been said that a Christian rhetorician is a paradox, but so is the mystical condition. To write about the ineffable, to join body to spirit, these, we are told cannot be done, and so they should be. Denial is not the way of affective mysticism; that tradition is affirmative. This reading may shock us, surprise us,

PAGE 22

15 or nauseate us, but we should remember that acceptance is the way of Christian love. The Christian religion, that practice of following Christ, emerged frcm the Hebrew, which itself had a Gnostic tradition as well as a Torah. That gnosis believes that the hidden God, the Sefiroth, underlies all existence. It is the basis for the Kabbalah, the Jewish mysticism. One of its myths, attributed to Ftolany, describes the emanations of the Sefiroth--as Pleroma--entering the world, male and female personified qualities. The female emanation, Wisdom, became overwhelmed with Passion and fell to earth pregnant with substance, a shapeless mass formed from Wisdom's ignorance, grief, fear, and bewilderment (Pelikan 1:87). The Torah forbids such sins as arising from passion; its negative cxmstruction was replaced by the affirmation of Christ whose dual nature, divine and human displayed the prirre mystery of our culture. By his hypostatic union, that is, by the act of affirmation which fused his divine nature to a human nature, Christ replaced condemned humanity with the salvation of divinity. We shoUld further acknowledge that the Hebrew and Christian religions share monotheism with Islam. An essential difference, though, is to be found in the order of human experience and the record--text--of that experience. For instance, the human Mohammed experienced divinity through the revealed Koran. SUfism, Islamic mysticism, may be viewed as a journey where traveller, way, and destiny are one. The world is nerely a stopping place for the traveller who receives enlightenment like a flash in the night of his

PAGE 23

16 existenc:e (See Figure 1). Hasan al-Basri (643-728), a SUfi famed for jurisprudence, rhetoric, and spirituality, said, "That is a wise IlBil who regards this world as nothing, and so regarding it seeks the other world" {quoted in smith 176). This mysticism, then, also negates this life in search of the world of heaven beyond. In contrast, again, Christ continually accepts the passion of human beings, accepts their crudities and condemnations, and joins their errors to his ow constantly replayed Passion. Thus to Christian mystics, time is ever accessible through the Christ, we need to renember, who is outside time yet historically documented. Past, present, and future are but points on a wheel equally distanced fran the hub of their minds. Their activities reach out to the rim of history in 'Which they find themselves, but their minds are on the ever-present eternity which fuses past and future in the presence of Christ. Since this text has lasted 2000 years, I would say that it is effective rhetoric. This is the Word that I would read through St. Bernard, Margery Kempe, and St. Teresa. Since the Word itself is a metaphor for Christ, the chapters presented here focus on three metaphors of mysticism. All of the texts in this study are from contemplatives who practice silent reditation as the focus of their lives even while confirming their societies in vocal worship. Thus, their "songs" are silent. Chapter One explores the "kiss" of St. Bernard's senoons. He distinguishes the "kiss" variously as the Holy Spirit, the breath exchanged by God and Christ in a kiss, the penitent's kiss to the feet of Christ, the gradual grace of a subject who kisses the king's hand, the ieystical kiss

PAGE 24

17 whereby the contemplative is granted union, and its effects in the intoxicated Bride. In doing so, he presents the bodily neans of knowing in terms of vertical and horizontal movarent as well as containment. Chapter Two shows Margery Kempe's "tears" as her metaphor of grace. Her tears are explored through the lens of Christian tradition and through their subversive effects on her society. Here the bodily neans of knowing primarily presents itself in terms of the birthing process of her autobiography which tears lubricate, but also includes the vertical and horizontal visions of Christ above her and in her bed. Chapter Three describes St. Teresa's "sword of contemplation" as a rhetoric of subversion with which she attempts to arm her nuns to read the Song for themselves. She takes her metaphor frcm the Song which shows the Bridegroom's bed surrounded by men holding swords. Disjunctively, Teresa alternates the nuns identity as men and as the Bride who nurses at Christ's breasts. She also appropriates Christ's mthering from the Song, in the tradition of Bernard, since the Bridegroan brings his Bride to his mother's house. Her Conceptions show the bodily neans of knowing as vertical in reaching up to Christ, horizontal in reaching out for his grace, and containing as they are pregnant with God's truth. My methods of analysis employed primary resources, critical responses, cross-disciplinary studies, and a close reading attuned to my "negative capability." Usually I read the mystic's material, selected a work on the basis of its high rhetorical content, its contemplative status, and the singular kinds of readings such texts usually pro:roote. I questioned the text. Why is one word used instead

PAGE 25

18 of another? How does the text get :ue to visualize? What techniques make :ue respond? What games are played and why? I got a quick impression of the text and its :uessages, then I read what other readers thought. Since I had already formulated an opinion, I was ready for disputation. Detractive pronouncements returned :ue to the text to which I became mre closely attentive. '!hen I returned to the critical reception and tested the critics by the standards which they applied to the texts. The results of this approach, as I have used it, seem to be particularly visible in the chapter on St. Teresa. Here I was able to join my rhetorical questioning of the text, which led to such external conclusions as the recognition that periphrasis, that is an embellishnent of a simple idea by :ueans of a circumlocution, was the most coomon trope, with inmersion, a technique learned long ago from dramatic studies. Imnersion, the attempt to recreate the nental conditions of the character by attention to place, business, and time, led to further understanding of the mystic's life than I could gain by more analytical means. What I discovered by straightening out the circumlocutions was the Bernadine tradition of the soul as Bride.

PAGE 26

19 Fi g ure 1. Monotheistic Modern Reli g ions

PAGE 27

CHAPTER 1 SENSE OF SILENCE: SAINI' BERNARD'S RHETORICAL KISS "Thy lips drip as the honeycomb, my spouse: Honey and milk are under thy tongue. 11 (Song of Songs, 4:11) LOcus Hundreds of sermons and treatises, probably nore than a thousand letters, a defense of Pope Innocent II against supporters of Peter I..eonis, an address that incited the second crusade, a rule for the Knights Templar, two successful prosecutions of heresies, and a new rhetoric that joined the skills of Cicero with those of st. Augustine, all this is just part of the legacy of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). But it is in the eighty-six sermons an the Song of Songs and, in particular, those which deal with the kiss that Bernard forces himself upon our IOOdern consciousness. Here it is that he took up the Platonic split of sexuality frcm spirituality 1 and forged the Christian dilennna: our awareness that "good" entails forcing our sexuality to fall away from unity as if it -were ascending stages of a rocketing soul moving towards its spirituality in the celestial hierarchy. Bernard of Clairvaux is known for his innovative rhetoric; Pope Pius XII dubbed him the "mellifluous doctor" in his 1953 encyclical letter. So honey-tongued was Bernard, in fact, that nany critics have been unable to avoid noticing the most persuasive erotic content of his mysticism. Few go further than that. Those 'Who do are useful, however, because they emphasize by their own rhetorical dichotomy the 20

PAGE 28

21 problematic legacy which the saint has bequeathed to us. Etienne Gilson, Bernardine scholar, attacks an identification of Bernard's mysticism with the erotic as the very opposite of Bernard's meaning. Ann Astell, an exegetical researcher on the Song of Songs, displays the eroticism as a means by which Bernard united masculine and feminine for a Jungian approach to the whole self, rut even Astell undercuts the erotic canponent and concurs with Gilson that Bernard did not mean it "that way." Both Gilson and Astell acknowledge that Bernard's eroticism, then, is an issue; both see it in terms definable as a linguistic incitement to lust, and both see its opposition to spirituality. The erotic language of the mystic does not oppose spirituality, but integrates it. The affective mysticism to which Bernard adhered is a way of perceiving that differs from doctrinal discourse because it makes meaning not through negative laws but through positive movement. He did not condone licentiousness, but sought to heighten the person's spiritual awareness by a sexual awareness of God. Recent critics such as Foucault and stone show rather that in natters of doctrine, Classical, Hebrew, and Christian leaders broke the spiritual fran the sexual in order to assert patriarchal power. Divide and conquer has been the rule, unconsciously and consciously. such distinctions take advantage of 'What Mark Johnson in 'lhe Body in the Mind calls our spatial constructs of understanding. Experiences that we have even before birth include: containment, something as being within something else, which also allows for something outside of the self--an inner/outer scope for understanding; verticality, that knowledge of teing up or down, with up teing closer to the comforting

PAGE 29

22 rhythn of the heart and do-wn being toward the seat of pain or trauma of birth; and horizontality, that sideways umbilical cord connecting our nourishment with its attenuating severance. When sexuality, the gendered experience of maleness or femaleness hormonally govemed by a desire to incorporate an in-out plane of experience, is pitted against spirituality, a perception of experience not yet ascribed to the physical senses but supported by an up-down plane of experience and related to vertical cellular organization, the resulting gap causes a yeamin;J for integration. Thus, the splitting itself is an erotic formula. Instead of doctrinally splitting sexuality and spirituality into separate lower (evil) and upper (good) domains, we might conceive of mysticism as a horizontality, an experiential umbilicus pursuing synthesis. The rhetoric of mystical union demonstrates the mystic's subconscious desire to re-integrate sexuality and spirituality in an experience of love impossible to sustain because it involves perpetual attaclurent and total acceptance of another. Mystics have not spoken of union as a divine rejection of their sexuality. What they have n:entioned has teen a removal of sensual anxiety. Thus, for them, yeaming ceases when integration occurs and resumes when union ends. The legacy of Bemard, however, would seem to l:e guilt. Early in his sermons he aroused sexual fantasies of the men toward God and Christ through appropriation of the Bride netaphor; later, he described human lust as belonging to the sinner. Bernard's rhetoric is experience-based, and the key to opening that experience is the l:ody. Christianity, we might acknowledge, is the only one of the three Westem m::>notheistic religions to translate the abstraction of God

PAGE 30

23 into the bOdy at all. Operating within this religious frame, then, Bernard applied the Socratic rule and learned about himself. First, he understood his sexuality; second, he understood his spirituality; third, he experienced mystical union; fourth, he learned the nasterful application of rhetoric. The written -word, of course, is what we have. It therefore seems appropriate, since we are readers of texts, to begin with some cmments on Bernard's language. His initial rhetorical step was to acknowledge a shared condition. For instance he not only addressed the topic of concupiscence, rut also identified with it and encouraged it with his vivid language. He did not nip it frigidly the way Origen did, but fanned its living flames with passion. He did not JI!YStically wander among the gardens of God as Gregory the Great did, but pulsed with a body in a world of uen and 'WOOleil. In short, he nade language a sensory experience. He is faioous, in fact, for his "affective mysticism," known as an approach to God through the affections rather than through logic. Fran the foregoing discussion, we might suspect "affective mysticism" of using phenomenological knowledge, which itself provides the planes of meaning fran which logic draws its propositions. It is Bernard, significantly, who entwined Classical, Hebrew, and Christian elements into the love-rope which has been left dangling since the twelfth century. To place St. Bernard at the forefront of a tradition requires sore critical appraisal. His generally accepted motive for speaking and writing was that he wanted others to know the love of God. The focus of critics then and now presents a dynamic proselytizer and an

PAGE 31

24 able apologist. Bernard's mystical rhetoric shows three stages of love: carnal, spiritual, and benevolent.~ employed Classical tropes shrouded in Augustinian "reminiscence." His developnent of the wedding allegory of the Song of songs embellished the bodily eroticism of the soul as Bride and Christ as the Bridegroan. Of course, the focus of this study will also explore the European conception of a kiss and foreground Bernard's turns and re-turns to it. The textual discourse, though, will examine the explicit sexual nature of his senoons and the rhetorical tropes he used. Thus, the four ca:nponents of rhetoric, audience, speaker, subject, and arrangement, function as the canponents of this inquiry with the first three canprising a reason or container for the last. The way to an integration of individual and culture, we know, must begin with a reooval of taboos. Because he is a recognized saint of the Olurch, the first taboo from which our scholarship should disengage is the analysis of a saint's work. The second taboo to eliminate is that an established theologian would not use erotic persuasion. No scholar has given an individual analysis of Bernard's sermons. Few scholars have remarked on their erotic content without simultaneously describing the viewpoint as inappropriate reader response. 'Why is it that this rich textual source which may contain sorre answers for our present woes, especially our cultural relegation of sexuality as evil, unprofessional, amoral, \lll.Stable, and definitely non-spiritual, is explored not by academics, but rather by theologians? Since the field of ethics attaches shame to sexuality out of the Greek and Hebrew religious traditions, our culture is generally restrained from treating sexuality as an experiential base

PAGE 32

25 for our concepts. Bernard, though, seemed to accept that base and used sexuality as a means of persuasion and an erotic means of knowing the abstract. In G. R. Evans' translation Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bernard declared his motivation to be spiritual love, one which he perceived as within a Church tradition: How I pray that that burning desire and longing in the hearts of these holy men of old may be aroused in me by these words: "Let him kiss me with the kiss of his m:>uth." (215) 'Ille scriptural love rhetoric in this brief selection frcm St. Bernard's sermon 2: "On the Kiss" of the Song of Songs shows the kiss as the most important of all the tropes he used. The "him" in the Song is the Bridegroom, but Bernard rendered "him" as Christ. The allegorical connection of Christ to the Bridegrocm, though, did not begin with Bernard who followed Origen's lead. E. Ann Matter in The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity sees the allegorical tradition of the love between God and Israel as being "passed on to Christian exegetes with the cancn of the Hebrew Bible" (51). 'lhus, the Olristian allegory translates that love to Christ and the Church. Etienne Gilson continues that translation when he remarks in 'lhe Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard that Bernard labeled Christ as "the Kiss par excellence, the Osculum of the canticle of canticles" who will be the medium through which mystical "favours" may be attained (110). Bernard echoed the old "longing" for divine miity, but specified it more as a reciprocal affection of wills in life--a joining of individual entities through spiritual grace. 'lhe human must

PAGE 33

26 be able to develop this affection, and Bernard showed the way through the sensual, even "carnal." Bernard designed this fleshly novement of the mind to bring about an awareness of human nature, its capacity and desire for love, as well as its deviation fran it. He did not try to develop God as love; that was already the premise of the faith that dramatized all true love as divine. 'Ihrough his kiss netaphor, a sign of adoration or "love," Bernard proposed two senses of love to the nedieval Christian world-physical and spiritual. Etienne Gilson addresses both senses in his appendix "The Two Loves Opposed": The mystic can have no thought of 1.ll'lion with God by way of his body (albeit this body is hereafter to participate in beatitude) for God is spirit; rut in the order at least of spiritual life which is his, he will never conceive a 1.ll'lion of love which is not, in its own way, total: Sponsus et Sponsa sunt; love will have that, or it will be frustrated of what it is impossible for it not to desire without ceasing to be itself. (192) He also remarks that "Never did st. Bernard CX)ndemn it, for carnal love may be blessed and hallowed by the Church; it is too often forgotten that marriage is a sacrament" (194). In appendix 5, Gilson adds that love was the focus of monastic theology. He says, "The ioonasteries were equally [with secular schools] schools of love rut schools that would teach charity" (200). carthusians, Victorines, Benedictines and Cistercians2 "all took up the problem of love with a jealous predilection" (3). Specifically for Bernard, Christ was the means to a divine union with the Father which inspired charity. 'Ihus, his canmunity experienced the fruits of love in its social connections. The rhetorical direction of Bernard's kiss, then, leads through the body's ioovements of containment in his "carnal" love,

PAGE 34

27 verticality in his "spiritual" love, and horizontality in his social love. Historically, Bernard's l:x>dy-centered mysticism emerges within the traditions of the abstract, God-centered mysticisms of Neoplatonist, Pseudo-Dionysiun, and Augustinian (Butler 130) and the later movement known as the "renaissanc,e of the twelfth century" (Tavard 1) in which the Christological scholastic spirituality of Thomas Aquinas and Richard of St. Victor asserted the "scienc,e of contemplation" (Butler 125), not to speak of the thirteenth c,enturys affective Franciscan movement which focused on the crucifixion (Hellman 42). Bernard, rrore than these other influential theologians, demonstrated his vivid ethos--that rhetorical part of the speaker's invention which portrays character and provides credibility for his discourse--in the servic,e of spirituality. Bernard, mystic saint and doctor of the Church, employed a powerful rhetoric, not in ethereal or light-flashing tenns, not in earth-shaking revelation, not in passionate stigmata, but in the love language of his day, in t:oth his sermons and writings, in order to persuade others of the exoteric availability of the experience of God and the need for living the life of Christ. His last and rrost famous work, though unfinished tecause of his death,3 presents an exegesis of the Song of Sonqs in a series of sennons ostensibly addressed to the monks at Clairvaux, but with the world in mind. It is in Bernard's response to his rredieval Christian world that the rhetorical element is most obvious. Because audience influences inventio, that rhetorical action of selecting materials on

PAGE 35

28 which to base a persuasive discourse, Bernard selected the Song for its popularity. 'lhis Old Testament book had mre mnastic cx:mnentary than any other due to its theme of love. 4 In fact, love was the favorite subject arong the theologians woo "initiated and conducted the :aovement" of reform known as the "Renaissance of the Twelfth Century" (Ozment 4, 86-87): carthusians, Victorines, and the Benedictines and Cistercians. 'Ibe latter group of Cistercians, organized by saint Stephen Harding (English monk and abbot of citeaux), William of St. 'Ibierry and saint Bernard (Gilson 2-3), was the most important to this study. Not only was the crucial to these mnks as a group, but it was also of value to Bernard's close friend, William of St. 'Thierry. They discussed it at length when in the infirmary together. later, William was to write his own carmantary on the Song, Expositio altera super cantica canticorum (Evans, Mind 109). Bernard's response to individuals such as William reflects Ciceronian benevolentia (De Inventione II, 55), a kind of social love which may be described as "disinterested" and reciprocal concern for the good of the friend rather than for self interest (Gilson 10). As an example of this concern, we should note st. Bernard's res!X)nse to Bernard de Portes' petition "for the text of his first Sermons on the Song of Songs" (I..eclercq, On the Song viii).5 A closer look at Bernard's answer shows his incorporation of ethos, considered by Aristotle to be the m:>st important proof (Rhetoric 9). The saint employed humility and affected a naturalness of inventio due to res!X)nse rather than what might seem to many ascetics as pride. Bernard wrote in letter number 153 (Benedictine tradition}:

PAGE 36

29 And so I will accede to your importunity, so that you may have no doubts about my insufficiency. It is a matter between friends. I will not try any mre to spare my IOOdesty, I will forget my own foolishness in trying to satisfy your demands. I am having copied a few senoons I wrote recently ai the first verses of the Song of Solcm::>Il I shall continue with them, but you must encourage me. {Letters 229) Through this letter, too, St. Bernard's request for "encourage[ment]" ensured a futw:e audience through participation. A Bernardine researcher, Huffer, "estimates the total number of letters written and received by Bernard at not less than a thousand," but Bruno James feels this is a "very IOOdest estimate" (Bernard, Letters xvii). re now have sooe tangible evidence of Bernard's Ciceronian love as motivation for his rhetorical c:onstruction of the "kiss" sermons. His oorizontal experiential plane, receiving and sending letters, is the space in which he created those senoons. No ooe doubts that St. Bernard's approach to the Song is rhetorical (by which I mean that it persuades through conscious selection of a topic that suits his audience, arrangement that aI1ploys his audience's habits of memory, curiosity, and identification, and style that appeals to sensual and imagistic thinking), and mst agree that his approach was innovative, even bizarre. One reasai for such an appraisal is the containment of inner rhetorical tension created by Bernard's use of both Ciceronian and Augustinian methods. Many critics cannot agree as to which influence predominates. Bernard actually worked within a continuum of granmar tightly Jmotted to contemplation.6 Granmar, as distinct from rhetoric, was encouraged as a means of understanding Scriptures. It was part of the basic redieval trivium, which the 21or 22-year-old Bernard must certainly

PAGE 37

30 have had before he entered the ronastery. SUch a classical-based education was "exterior" as opposed to the "interior" ncnastic schools concerned with spiritual matters and derived fran secular schools which we.re using the literature of Horace, Cicero, and OVid. Consciously, Horace and OVid were maant to be left at the ioonastery door. But Bernard transformad the arrangements and pagan tropes of Cicero by incorporating Augustinian influence in his scriptural IOOdels. Until Augustine, early Christian leaders largely avoided Classical rhetoric for t'WO reasons: because of its obvious pagan connections and because of the culturally absorbed Platonic condemnation, such as that noted in the Gorgias, when Socrates identified oratory as "cookery" (see note 6). Because of their avoidance of rhetorical art, early Christian serJOOns were marely rambling hanilies. Medieval rhetorician, Alan de Lille, for instance, arranged his SUnma de arte praedictoria fran Cicero's five-part schemata (McKeon 232-3), not fran any outstanding Christian schanes.7 st. Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana broke this trend and provided a Christian precedent for St. Bernard. Augustine identified "two things necessary to the treatment of Scriptures: a way of discovering those things which are to be understood, and a way of expressing to others what we have learned" (Murphy 57). He unabashedly and often referred to Cicero and urged the use of rhetoric to defend the Iey"Steries of the Old Testament (Augustine: Writings 293). He adapted Origen's exegetical method by identifying four "way[s] of discovering" as: historical, etiological, analogical, and allegorical (Aug. 294).8 'lbe "way of expressing" that Bernard adopted was

PAGE 38

31 rhetorical "reminiscence," a branching fo.rm of memoria that canbined Hebrew exegesis with Greek technique, despite the lack of available Aristotelian rhetoric.9 SUch a psychologically linked plan of developrent as "reminiscence" relied on associations and digressions to explain parts of scripture or doctrinal matters (Ieclercq, love 74). Bernard not only applied Ciceronian tropes, but also appropriated Augustinian "reminiscence" for at least sermons 12-17 of the Senoons on the Song.10 An.other rhetorical elesrent resides the c:x:>ntainment tension is the verticality of Bernard's philosophy in his treatm:mt of the Song. What kinds of language c:x:>uld be anployed in the celibate Cistercian setting to both attract and hold his audience? The answer to this question provides a second reason for the appraisal of Bernard's uniqueness-his frank mingling of body and soul. Though he did not recall the body in Origens Neoplatonic terms as a sensually attractive cell which detained the fallen soUl in its attempts at God,11 Bernard still saw the body in the vertical tradition and practiced the words of St. Paul: "First canes the natural and after that the spiritual" (lCor 15: 46). The mm who entered the Cistercian ccmnunity were adults, unlike the children often left among the Benedictines who are used to the dictates of celibacy (Astell 9). Many were married or widowed and were familiar with secular love literature.12 By adapting the erotic component of the Song, st. Bernard's language seduced the men's senses into a desire for a "higher" spiritual fo.rm. His language created a physical desire to a point humanly impossible to consummate since he frequently referred to

PAGE 39

32 the inadequacy of human ccmnitment. He encouraged a hunger for fulfillment only available in divine union. The experience is within traditions of containmmt, vertical desire, as well as the rhetoric of ineffability. '!hough mystics use the "inexpressibility topoi" of which Curtius speaks (159) to excuse their "inadequate" explanations of the phencmenon of divine union, Bernard expressed it in his first senoon to heighten his ethos. His pretense at struggling to "explain" the opening of the song daoonstrates how well he succeeded at explaining it. Very quickly that concern for his own language changed to a constructed amazement at the Song's speaker's language, which troped again when he emphasized the female's demanding desire for a mouth-to-mouth kiss. He effected the transformation fran premature linguistic ejaculation to persistent intercourse when he said: How shall I explain so abrupt a beginning, this sudden irruption as fran a speech in mid-course? For the wrds spring upon us as if indicating one speaker to whan another is replying as she demands a kiss--whoever she may be. {Bernard, Sermones 3) Bernard's unique rhetoric showed these men the way to God as the feminine way, as the anima of soul which prepares itself with desire and impatiently awaits her king. Astell, woo notes that such feminizing enabled these nen to get in touch with their sensitive and passionate side, draws on Jung for confirmation (11). Certainly, Bernard enabled his audience to integrate their personalities in a wholeness of sexuality through this approach, judging fran the enormous growth of the mnastic IIDVement which even enlisted husbands and wives in separate facilities. Because the Cistercians were known for their asceticism and sexual suppression, we can determine that his

PAGE 40

33 rhetoric was successful. Too, there was a constant need for him to use that rhetoric, to travel outside the rronastery walls converting and persuading. His language facilitated the vertical movement Bernard desired his audience to nake from the physical plane of the senses to tre spiritual sphere of the soul. Through scriptural "reminiscence" and sensual rhetoric, Bernard rranaged an orthodox interpretation of Scripture that well may have had its origins firmly located in the secular love from which it traditionally refrains. Given Bernard's conscious employment of rhetoric to convince his monastic community, it seems evident why he did not choose the p::,pular dialectic from among the secular schools.13 Dialectic, in its exchange of opposing views as a means to "truth," emerged fran the logic taught in the trivium. Dialectic's opposition to rhetoric, proves one proposition true while another proves false. The logic of containment, though, presents the unknown in tenns of the known--a method Bernard successfully employed in his sensual rhetoric. Bernard's art lies in his rranipulation of sensual concepts, rather than the rigors of debate. But it is doubtful that we can agree with A. Victor Murray, among others, who sees Bernard as unable to compete with an able dialectician such as Abelard (36) even though we might agree that Bernard was untrained. His rhetorical approach :teat his opponent's dialectic mercilessly when Abelard was charged with heresy. Furthermore, Bernard's choice of rhetoric over dialectic was his way of choosing faith over reason. Bernard even wrote to Pope Innocent II: "I thought it unfitting that the grounds of faith should l:e discussed by human reasoning" (Murray 38). He knew only too well that the

PAGE 41

34 mystic's connection with the invisible is questioned by the reasoning of dialectic. Bernard's use of reminiscence and rhetoric in senoons, uniquel4 for their artistic and sublime rendering, directly connects his Christian mystical theology to those techniques found in the Ad Herennium. Working fran a tradition of comrentary on the Song beginning with Origen, st. Bernard's exegetical method, based on Augustine's allegorical means for understanding scripture, developedl5 an unforgettable wedding allegory of union with God (or Jesus) as Bridegroan and Soul (or Cllurch) as Bride. In fact, his allegory helped both lay and ronastic symbolic maturity. Through audience identification, Bernard energized integration of the individual's masculine and feminine sides, first with the known masculinity of the Bridegroan then with the feminine anima of the Bride (Astell 94). Allegory and analogy were used, of course, as the chief rodes of explanation and discourse in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries.16 '!he problem for many readers of his Song sermons, we are informed, is being "carnally-minded. 11 17 Repeatedly twentieth century theologians and scholars say that twelfth century ioonks only saw the spiritual analogy of the wedding. Even m:xiern readers are scorned for viewing Bernard's message in an erotic light and branded as lacking spiritual depth by those applying only vertical planes of meaning. With that brand lighting the way, then, we may persevere in our exploration of Bernard's mystical kiss. Fran his active life within and without the ronastery, Bernard was familiar with his audience. He, as much as the Pseudo-Cicero, wished to have his hearers

PAGE 42

35 "attentive, receptive, and well-disposed" (13), so that his topic would be attuned to their perceptions.18 Cne such perception is the Church tradition of interpreting the Song of SOnga,19 as a religious mdel of attraction to God. Bernard continued that tradition. The major contribution of Bernard's exegesis, though, is its exploitation of the Song's erotic cc:mponent. Ann Astell relates Bernard's eroticism, even as she Jiakes spiritual correctives. For example, she introduces a Bernardine passage fran sermn 61 on the Song by explaining that "the saint actually invites his mnks to imagine a seduction scene, dramatizing the lover's speech for them before discounting it as word play" (93). She reveals that Bernard's use of the carnal as "appealing" to these nen drew them into "an awareness of their own cupidity," particularly as Bernard rejected the interpretation he persuaded them of as "inappropriate" (94). Bernard's audience, then as now, was caught in a teasing rhetoric that seduced carnally, identified such carnality as sinful, and produced shame and desire for conversion. Sympathy might not te out of place for that "carnally-minded" audience. The m::>nks fell into Bernard's rhetorical net. He was a fisher of nen and used the available m2ans to snare souls for God. Today's audienc-e should be able to recognize his use of carnality without being accused of misinterpretation as 'Ihomas Merton accused Rousselot. Merton, in fact, identified Father Rousselot as a confused great mind when in Rousselot's Bernardine c:.'CmlEltary "He accused the Abbot of Clairvaux of making 'pure love grow out of cupidity, and all of one piece with it" (169; emphasis mine).

PAGE 43

36 Thus, it is Bernard's knowledge of human love in all its spatial constructions and shadings that delivers his mystical theology. Drawing frcm his time's flux a dissatisfaction with the naterial prosperity of the Benedictines, a dissatisfaction with the sensual life exemplified in literature, and a dissatisfaction with the questioning process of dialectics in scholastic studies, Bernard confirned an orthodoxy that has persisted for eight hundred years. His mystical experience may be ascertained by his asceticism, Biblical exegesis, preaching, and writing. He approached God and man as a poet-lover. Through the rhetorical seduction of his mystical language, he JOOVed the listener/reader vertically frcm the containment of the literally erotic into the metaphysical world of the spiritual, and redirected the divine outward in a horizontally social impulse of charity. In the Song of Songs he used an unforgetable metaphor that not only embodies his rhetorical philosophy, but also his mystical theology. That metaphor is the kiss. Because of the mdern disparagement of erotica and the critical taboo of placing Bernard in unflattering sexual shadow, we should examine the possibility of secular rhetoric in m:mastic use during his time. Bernard did not, after all, operate in a vacumn. He himself was contained within a m:mastic carmunity whose linguistic camnunity bustled with influence IlJV'ing both ways, inside and outside its walls. First, we shoUld remember Bernard's mtivation was c:x:mnunal (social) love. Second, we shoUld note the sensual language of the subject matter he used for exposition-The Song of Songs. 'l'hird, we should maintain an awareness of the popular use of love language in the

PAGE 44

37 surrounding secular world of St. Bernard. Finally, we should remember that evangelization requires persuasion, occasionally seen historically as synonyxoous with seduction. By positioning st. Bernard's sermons en the "kiss" in the Song of Songs as erotic, we should be aware of the invective that position evokes today. Frequently cited is Bernard's own twelfth century defense-that mtive is everything (Ieclercq, Evans 19). Since Bernard's obvious mtive-aoorging fran his social love-is spiritual leadership, few people today even want to entertain the notion that his language is erotic. Gilson feels that carnality is the very opposite of what Bernard espoused, but that statement does not deny Bernard's use of carnality. Astell feels that Bernard asserted the carnal in order to dismantle it. Though both critics treat the issue, they are at pains to realign its quality. still, beginning with the literal 'We follow the two strands of medieval exegetical thought represented by Nicholas of Lyra (c.1270-1340) who stressed the "literal-prophetic" and Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples (c.1455-1536) who stressed the "literal-spiritual" (Oznent 69). Of course, there is always the arguuent that explains St. Bernard's sexually inciting language as due to that identification of the Song of Songs itself: The songs [a collection of 'love poems'] assimilated a whole series of lyrical topoi fran Old Egyptian love poetry Very typical of the style of the Song of Songs are the many repetitions of individual images and formulae, which Bernard of Clairvaux, who has a very fine feeling for the style of this poem, interprets as a linguistic expressicn of the passion of love. (Riehle 35) What such people forget is that many other people, before and after Bernard, have ccmrented on the Song, yet only he has been consistently

PAGE 45

38 named as influencing the course of the affective tradition in Christianity up to our own century. Bernard's "feeling" -was so "fine" that he was not beyond exploiting the Song's original eroticism by using its own rhetorical device of paraooesis (repetition). By repeating the "kiss" image Bernard developed the erotic nature of his senoon through prolongation of the sensual. His "feeling," thus, captured the actual nature of the original source. The fact that Bernard's spiritual analogy evolved frcm Scriptures that had basis in Egyptian love lyrics has only recently come to light: canparatively recent theological research has shown that the metaphorical language of the Song of Songs is to quite a considerable extent a direct borrowing fran the lyrical topoi of Old Egyptian love poetry.20 (Riehle 3). The search for love and for -ways of knowing have provoked such research. Influence and persuasion are sexually based, which is but one reason behind the Song's tremendous impact en our culture. Whether Bernard was aware of these ramifications or not, he is the one who canbined that persuasion with spatial conceptual constructs. It -was not only the content of love that dictated the form of his senoons, but his knowledge of how humanity could be persuaded to desire and how it could be IOOVed through "WOrd selection and arrangement to action. Sane critics have noticed that other mnastic rhetoric c:x:>ntains metaphoric elements in cc:moon with ranantic medieval literature. Riehle, for instance, notes: In addition to the basic stock of metaphors obtained fran the Song of Songs several others were borrowed frcm the language of secular love literature. But in our context -we now have the additional question of whether the contemporary courtly love poetry did not in sane -way 'rub off' on vernacular mysticism. (52)

PAGE 46

39 'Ihe question as to which way the influence {secular-m:mastic or 100I1astic-secular) goes has still not been decided, so that the historical possibility of secular influence on St. Bernard cannot be dismissed.2 1 Monks recorded gifts to the mnasteries, and in saoo cases embellished the sensual persuasiveness pious wives used en the husbands who contributed. writings in the mnasteries, then, dem:mstrate a positive connection between feminine physically sensual persuasion and language.22 Another mnk, William of st. 'Ihierry, friend of Bernard previously Jrentioned as principal in the renaissance of the twelfth century, demonstrated awareness of the containing conceptual plane and acceptance of the sensual nature of language as it calls the soUl to listen when he said: 'Hearing involves nothing interior, that is, it does not function within the body. It is instead, in one way, exterior, that is vibration an the eardrum; it calls the soul to cane out and listen. Indeed, spoken language was the tool of evangelization. {Fanner 540) Bernard appropriates the power of speech to evangelize just because of his familiarity with its effects an the senses and his awareness of its seduction. Farmer acJmowledges this awareness on the part of sane of the religious writers: Following \llX)n a long-standing classical and
PAGE 47

40 As already noted, IOOSt critics refuse to connect spiritual/religious writings with secular products, especially because of the professed antipathy of the former for the latter. Two noted authorities should suffice as representative. Jean I.e Clercq discusses the love "cultivated in both secular and religious circles" and asks, "Were there influences between the two? Scholars still debate this point" (I.eclercq, Evans 7). Etienne Gilson writes of this tine period: "The schools of Cistercian charity confronted the schools of profane love" (9), and writes of Bernard: "It was a spiritual love, in sharp opposition to every kind of carnal love" (172). Gilson does think that if any connection exists, mystical rhetoric could not have lx>rrowed fran the secular; that is "an altogether unjustifiable 'petitio principii'" (171), but he concedes the possibility of the secular appropriation of mystical language providing it is "established that the courtly conception of love is a sensual interpretation of the mystical conception of love developed by St. Bernard" (179). However there are a few critics who, perhaps, intuit a cross-influence: Although the authors of religious works condanned romance, they were sensitive to its sources of appeal. Hagiography and ranance may hold conflicting ideal visions of what constitutes human achievaoont, but both genres seek to attract their audiences to their respective world views. Thus hagiography freely appropriates fabulous, affective, and dramatic elements fran .raoance when they can make images of the hoiy life 100re compelling. 'While tacitly adopting these elements, religious literature overtly condemns the ranances themselves. (Crane 102) Susan Crane seems to be speaking to the issue of role m:>dels of achieveuent rather than the sexual elaoonts of the discourse which both I.eclercq and Gilson protest. Nevertheless, she acknowledges a rhetorical cross-influence. Even though Bernard employed exegesis and

PAGE 48

41 not hagiography, a closer look at his senoons reveal "fabulous, affective, and dramatic elanents 11 too, so why not sexual? Bemard himself appropriated sensual language at the service of the divine when he said: Since we are creatures of the flesh who are receptive to sensations and thereby fonn images (we] understand, through analogy, the neanings of God's mysteries. {Bernard 33) Finally, though, Riehle points out that 11 it is IOOre important to recognize the close links between secular and spiritual literature than to attempt to clarify the question of priority" {55). The question of connection must first be settled; then priority of influence should be addressed. The issue involves: experience, by what means we interpret the experience, the means we use to express the experience, and the neans by which that experience becanes accessible; in other words, an event takes place, a basis for understanding it is required, a vocabulary for ccmnunication is needed, and a irethod by which others may acquire such experience is provided. Thus, experience is received and interpreted by the lx>dy, expressed with the l:x>dy's language, and converted into written signs that sight transfers to the imaginative sphere of the other senses so that the experience might be simulated. But on the question of St. Bernard's erotic language, we find literary precedence, some critical recognition of it, his ow statement of the sensual connection in language, and sare recent critical discussion of the secular-spiritual love connection. No one doubts the mystical dimension of st Bernard's senoons on the .!E. although there are only a few partial analyses of them

PAGE 49

42 (notably those of Jean U:!Clercq and Etienne Gilson, also Thanas Merton and Ann Astell). What those analyses consist of are either background ccmpositions, proof for theological dogma, or historical tracings of Song ccmnent,ary. Those who do ccmnit themselves to identifying Bernard's language as erotic without undercutting such a camdtJoent do not explore his senoons, but ~rely accept his erotic language as ccmoon knowledge. Few others are willing to place the saint's sermons under the shadow of sexuality. We might nention, though, that the historian, Ernst R. CUrtius, does find "an unprejudiced erotic candor even amng the higher clergy" in the beginning of the twelfth century and notices the spiritUalizing of Eros in Bernard of Clairvauxs work (116-117). Focus In order to investigate the "spiritUalizing of Eros," as CUrtius puts it, we need to take a closer look at the discussion of mysticism itself. O:zmant discusses "both mysticism' and mystical theology. He says: The fo~ describes the experience of true mystics, those who claim to have experienced God intimately. Mystical theology, an the other hand, describes the learned study of mysticism by university scholars and the pursuit of mystical experience by clergy and laity 'Who never actually achieve it. (115) Though he provides useful definitions, ozinent does not describe the varieties of union or the different steps experienced by the "true mystics," nor does he entertain, in this definition, that mystical theology also might be pursued by "true mystics." In other words, a person 'Who has visionary or unitive experience might also speculate an the nature of God as Bernard does. If we, however, keep such

PAGE 50

43 possibilities in mind, then w may apply both of Ozments definitions to the discourse of Bernard's language.23 As we traverse mystical and erotic discourse, distinctions bet-ween them occasionally blur. Curtius understood Bernard to have spiritualized Eros, that Greek god of sexual love; Gilson denies it "since mystical love is the negation of carnal love one cannot borrow the description of one to describe the other" (179). Western culture, hmlever, uses the kiss in a variety of ways, joining mystical to carnal. There is a classical statue rendering Psyche kissing Eros which textually connects mind (Aquinas located the soUl there) and sexual passion. In Diogenes Laertius' Lives, a couplet reads: My soUl was on my lips as I was kissing Agathon. Poor soUl! she came hoping to cross over to him. {Perella 7) Besides the Greek, we have many instances of kisses in the Hebrew Bible for respect, affection, and reconciliation. Perella notes, though, that "The only clear nention of the kiss being on the muth is in connection with the passionate love of the song of Songs." Christian tradition, on the other hand, shows that the kiss had "a ritualistic and sacramental function fran the beginning" (12). Kisses to the altar, ring, icons, and to the face in the kiss of peace are just a small sampling. Continuing these traditional definitions ascribed to the kiss as l:x:>th nonsexual and sexual are those to be found in current dictionaries and encyclopedias. The OED's first definition of the netaphor we are exploring identifies "kiss" as "A touch or pressure given with the lips in token of affection, greeting, or reverence; a salute or caress given with the lips." Within this definition, then, we notice its "gifted" and "affective"

PAGE 51

44 characteristics. Associating "reverence" with the kiss, this dictionary clearly demonstrates the horizontal connection of affection and religious veneration. The "salute" daoonstrates respect for another's authority, so with this usage a vertical hierarchical power structure is invoked. The sensual nature of "touch" must have been i.nmediately noticed, but as an historical entry of its use, the OED recalls the classical distich in its reference to a line fran Tennyson's Fatima: "He drew With onle long kiss my whole soul thro' My lips." Nicolas Perella's lx:>ok, The Kiss Sacred and Profane, describes labial association of eroticism as a western cultural construction associated with eating and sensations of touch and smell. If we juxtapose Tennyson's use with Perella's observation, the containment meaning plane neatly integrates spirituality with sexuality. On the other hand, a C0111I10n explanation of the "kiss" in Brittanica identifies motive as the deciding factor among the interpretations of affection, greeting, or eroticism: Whether or not a behaviour is interpreted by society or the individual as erotic (i.e. capable of engendering sexual response) depends chiefly on the context in which the behaviour occurs. A kiss, for example, nay express asexual affection (a mother kissing a child or a kiss between relatives), respect {as a French officer kissing a soldier after bestowing a medal an him), reverence (kissing the hand or foot of a pope), or it may be a casual salutation and social aioonity In other words, the apparent mtivatian of the behaviour determines its interpretation. Individuals are extremely sensitive in judging mtivatians: a greeting kiss, if protracted 100re than a second or two, takes on a sexual connotation. (594) Fran this interpretation and with a knowledge of Latin, a reader may readily construe St. Bernard's "kiss" within the motive of friendship,

PAGE 52

45 rather than sexuality. In his history of The Kiss, Christopher Nyrop describes the Ranans as identifying three kinds of kisses with three different words: "oscula, friendly kisses, basia, kisses of love, and suavia, passionate kisses" (8-9). st. Bernard uses the Iatin translation of the Song's kiss as osculum, never the other two. The problan with one-to-one definitions, though, is that they fail to acJmowledge the plane of neaning in which they are used. We might recall that containment, verticality, borizontality are some of the spatial considerations which we use for understanding. These are the contexts in which Bernard's "kiss" acts, which brings us to the text itself. Sermons Specifically, we need to analyze St. Bernard's mystical kiss senoons thanselves to see their spatial anploynent of the camal, the spiritual, an.cl the social as erotic rhetoric. There are eight thematically centered senoons an the "kiss" out of the eighty-six sernK:>ns on the Song of Songs; they are arranged with a "spiritual" break in the center, a kind of abyss which the mystic ImlSt bridge. 'llle first four sermons are "kiss" sermons; the fifth senoon deals with "four kinds of spirits" and makes no reference to the kiss, thereby making a parallel in arrangeneit with the previous xoore "fleshly" figurae. The next four serm:>ns, 6-9, return to the "kiss" m:>tif. Further references to the kiss are sparse following these serxoons, but sare isolated allusions occur in senoons 28, 30-31, 38, and 41. Bernard's opening senoon on the "kiss" in the Song of Songs emphasizes the stylistic devices of beginning in the middle of the

PAGE 53

46 action, the rhetorical ambiguity of the speaker, and the unusual adverbial nooifier of the statement: "let him kiss me with the kiss of his ioouth." Bernard reflects, "What a delightful way of puttiIYJ it! We begin with a kiss, and the lovely face of Scripture readily attracts the reader and leads him on" {Bernard 212). To begin in medias res, we may recall, is a classical method which incorporates divinity in the lives of men. Bernard believed that though he was not present at the beginning of God's interaction with nan nor at its ending, he was at its mid-point. calling attention to this method of beginning also recalls that Bernard was addressing JIX)nlcs in the middle of their lives, not in childhood or old age. Knowing that such people everywhere are fascinated by mystery, Bernard crafted his language with veiled references. In fact, ambiguity was a joy for Bernard. He demonstrated a belief that, while we do not know through language, through its imagery we could see "darkly." Bernard's personified use of "face" and his appropriation of contemplation as seeing "in a glass darkly" displays his use of ambiguity as well as his appropriatiai of traditional mystical rhetoric. In regards to Bernard's reaction to the scholar Abelard, A. Victor Murray notes: "Bernard's chief canplaint against Abelard was that he was too clear about the mysteries of the faith" (160). Thus, it is the ambiguity of the speaker's identity in Song that emphasized for Bernard its mystical connection.25 He must have Jmo"Wil frcm the Ad Herennium, that employing ambiguity produces emphasis {401). Also, Bernard's use of the "inexpressibility topoi, 11 inherited fran the ancient mystics and verified by Curtius {159-162) forces a separation of those who experienced divine union and

PAGE 54

47 entrusted the Jmowledge through various coding and rites only amng the elect,26 especially as the Old Testament God refused to be specifically named. That the kiss should be described as "of the muth" finds its significance in the "intimacy" of love, which we might identify as the trope periphrasis, which anbellishes reaning through circmnlocution (Cicero, pseud. 337), and which Bernard developed scripturally. The rhetorical device began innocently enough with, perhaps, the agreed denotative and Christian sign of affection, but moved gradually under the total control of the speaker as he called into question kisses that are not "of the muth" and pranoted swerves in his listeners connotations by connecting their kiss experiences to the speaker's changed perceptions. Leclercq says that for Bernard love is the sole object of the sacred texts [and the Bible's] facts and ideas serve as both pre-text and pretext for this encounter between two loves: that of God for man and man for God" ("Intro.," Evans 32). In his reflection Bernard placed the muth en the personified "face" of Scripture. So that, in effect, reader and listener began with the words of God as if they were kissed by him and wanted mre. 'Ibis imaginative and bizarre image appeals erotically through a fonn of 100uth to muth transfer--a sensual kiss experience--and recalls the Greek distich of Laertius nentioned earlier. No wonder Bernard described it as "delightfUl." It facilitated his persuasive power to focus on the body part--the muth--for his express purpose of exciting the experiential level of the senses. 'lhrough his use of synecdoche, which demnstrates a whole fran its part (Cicero, pseud. 339), Bernard wanted to recreate each listener into the Bride, even transferring her

PAGE 55

48 emotions through arousal, another rhetorical trope (Cicero 369). Ann Astell and Ernst CUrtius, for their own reasons, depend on Jungian psychology to describe Bernard's feminine appeal, but they do not really explain the variety of roles Bernard projects for his audience's participation. Just to join the feminine and masculine sides of the mnks' psyches does not account for a rhetorical seduction that involves the containment of the Bride within the sole danain of the Groom; the verticality of kisses of su1:mission, respect, and love; or the elite horizontality of equality only to be found in the kiss of the trinity. Bernard seemed bent on awakening the same Bridal desire found in the Song among his audience, and for that reason his treatment of the Song is different from those that preceded him. Why did Bernard want, even subconsciously, to deliver erotic senoons? Why did he amplify the kiss itself? Why did he discuss it over and over again, dwelling on the point (Cicero, pseud. 375) so much that it was "like blood spread through the whole body of the discourse," as the translation of the Latin describes the trope? 'lhese rhetorical figures of embellishment conjure the continued attention of the audience to this strongest of topics. In senoon 2 there is one possible explanation. He perceived his audience's pathetic lack of Christian "ardor" at a time just prior to Cllristmas. said: When I reflect, as I often do, on the ardor with which the patriarchs longed for the incarnation of Christ, I am pierced with sorrow and shame. And now I can scarcely contain my tears, so ashamed am I of the lukewarmness and lethargy of the present times

PAGE 56

49 In those days a spiritual man could sense in the Spirit how great would be the grace released by the touch of those lips. (215) Briefly noting his feminine sexual "pierced" image "Which invades his space with "shame" and the emission of grace fran the touched "lips," we may acknowledge him benevolently notivated to fire others with the saDB kind of love that he felt.~ ascribed God's "grace" to the action of the kiss. By that attachment of property to the metaphor, Bernard n:wed his trope into the sphere of metonymy, expanding the kiss for his audience's intuitive knowledge; "to intuit," says Ozment, "means to behold and gaze on something attentively" (57). Since Bernard presents images for the nonks to "gaze" upon, we might reflect that Western males are most stimulated sexually by sight. With the attention of his audience focused en the property of the kiss-its grace, Bernard next emphasized its significance for them: The 100uth which kisses signifies the Word who assmnes human nature; the flesh which is assumed is the recipient of the kiss; the kiss, which is of lx>th giver and receiver, is the Person which is of both, the Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. (216) By this accumulation-a forceful trope intended to impress (Cicero, pseud. 361)--of horizontal imagery, Bernard revealed the orthodox theology of the dual nature of Christ, proclaimed at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) as being both God and man. Erotically he refined-this figure seems to say something new and nay transfer a thought to arousal (Cicero, pseud. 365)--the stationary noun, "kiss," to an active present tense verb, "kisses," concentrating en the body part "the m::mth" as performing the action; within the saDB sentence he repeated "kiss" three times. Further, he directly connected the

PAGE 57

50 "kiss" to an infusion into "flesh" so there can be no doubt of its sensual nature. Ibwever, there is also another aspect, drawn, of course, fran the Gospel of John--the Word. In the "kiss," as Bernard explicated it, are three persons, but they are the l'k>rd itself, God as giver, and Jesus as receiver. At this point, however, he did not explain the "kiss" as the Holy Spirit. The connection of God and man is found, though, in Christ and the Word. Bernard gave a second amplification of the union in the "kiss"--reconciliation. Prior to Christ's arrival, Bernard said, people began to lose faith in the promises and they demanded the kiss, the sign of the promise of reconciliation and so by this sign of peace make peace secure [not] believing in mere words. They need to be confirmed by deeds. (217-18) Bernard has changed the "kiss" now into a symbol of peace and a "deed" that was "demanded" to insure Christ's presence. This reconciliation became instituted not long after Bernard's life, in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council in the standardization of lay confession (Kieckhefer 102), which consists of the word, forgiveness through Christ, and reunion with God. Out of social concern and brotherly charity the Church itemized, examined, and restricted human sexuality in all its fleshly weakness and attempted to transfer its more lustful aspect into discourse.27 Having established audience interest and image participation, Bernard approached his audience in serm:>n 3 on the experience of divine union, the contemplative ecstasy. He said: I want to investigate whether it has been given to any of you to say, 'Let him kiss ire with the kiss of his mouth. Few can say this wholeheartedly. But if anyone once receives the spiritual kiss of Christ's nouth he

PAGE 58

51 seeks eagerly to have it again and again But a soul like mine, burdened with sins, cannot dare say that, while it is still crippled by fleshly passions. (221) Bernard, in the tradition of mystical theology, implied that few people actually had experienced such a phencmenon. Further, he described this experience, the "kiss" of cx:.mtemplative ecstasy, as c:ne that mystics wanted repeated. The juxtapositioning of three spiritual "kisses" with continuous desire and "fleshly passions" displays a bizarre use for the oxymoron. Certainly it would seem by such a choice of imagery that Bernard was acutely aware of the pathetic-feelings and emotions in an audience-inner conflict that the Church's mandate and his own enforcement of celibacy had effected in his audience. Though xoonks are not necessarily priests and have their own vows of chastity, it is during Bernard's rost influential lifetime that the first (1123) and second (1139) Lateran Councils ended the possible Roman catholic legality of clerical marriage, sorething which is still a source of church division. But, of course, Bernadine critics would have us remember that Bernard's 1:enevolent mtivation which made "divine union" so personal for his monks is the reason we should not construe his rhetoric as erotic. In keeping with this criticism, we might remember that Bernard's order, the Cistercians, was a strict reform of the Benedictines. To lash us and his audience, then, to the mast of sexual denial would sean to be the next step sillC'e the listeners/readers must not stop up their ears or eyes. Traditionally, asceticism28 provides the test reception for the ecstatic experience. Disciplined senses shut to the corporeal are supposed to attract the divine, so Bernard's coupling of divine mion with a

PAGE 59

52 reminder of sinful nature is orthodox mysticism. The problem of his language remains, however. It is like describing a deferred, mouth-watering meal to starving children. The first ascetical step, then, for the sinful person, instead of aspiring to union, was to begin an allegorical movement of repentance described by three kisses: he shoUld throw himself at Christ's feet and give them the first kiss; next, he should kiss the hand; then, he may kiss the nouth. The social effect of penance, we might remember, is a kind of containment meant to redirect outward aggression inward to restructure the self; when that is accanplished with the help of a spiritual leader, reconciliation may be effected towards those to whom aggression was originally directed. Spiritually, the same procedure is adopted since man's sin is a rebellion against God, and self denial is the way that Christ took to achieve nan's salvation. The first kiss Bernard ascribed to penitence, demonstrated by the tears which accompanied it and washed not only Christ's feet as in Luke (7:37), but also the penitent himself. Only with forgiveness may the penitent rise by grace given by the hand which helped him up. The kiss to the hand, then, signified that the glory was due to the giver of grace, not the given. overwhelming love caused the penitent to "press" for the gift of "that suprerre kiss of the highest condescension and wonderfUl sweetness" (223) which, of course, is the kiss of Christ's mouth. Though sermon 3 briefly discussed the contemplative ecstasy in terms of the kiss, the penitent kisses leading to it -were explained in more detail. Of course, we might have failed to recognize the erotic nature of traveling up the body via kisses because the notive is to

PAGE 60

53 show disgust and sorrow with the sins of the flesh. Hierarchical desire is inherent in the vertical plane of our experience. No one wants to remain servilely at the feet, yet that is the place the humble Christian must begin. 'Ihe muth is prioritized because it is the bodily entrance to the head, the translating center of language. In mystical tradition, the novement in cataphatic theology is always upwards, a scala toward divine union.30 We rray discern from Bernard's theology of the Word, as well as his belief, that "sinful nature" is "crippled by fleshly passion," but union can be effected by "spiritual" language. Though Bernard's fourth sermon showed kisses as "stages of progress in the soul, it emphasized the body." He denied "bodily members" to God "since 'God is a Spirit"'; then paradoxically, he referred again to "the kiss of the mouth" because Scripture spoke of it, using portrayal-a figure which depicts a person through his body {Cicero, pseud. 387). By means of metonymy, Bernard specified the bodily parts God has by the gifts that come from them, i.e. knowledge frcm the mouth that teaches, food by his hand, and feet for the kisses of humility. Then he attempted to clarify the paradox by saying "God has all these not by nature, but we understand them as ways by which we can come to him" {225). Bernard then spoke of the love of God in terms of a bodily mystical joy: "A joyous contemplation finds rest in him in the rapture which is the kiss of his muth" {226). '!his antithetical doctrine of opposites, contemplation and physical rapture, consisted in Bernard's belief that the soul needs the body:

PAGE 61

54 Only through the body does the way, the ascent to the life of blessedness, lie open to us The spiritual creature which -we are has a body which is necessary to it, and without which it cannot reach that knowledge which is the only way to the knowledge the blessed have. (227) Bernard recognized his use of the body as necessary matter or form for the soul. The body, of course, is a prerequisite for both the literal and the spiritual union of Bride with Bridegroc:m in the kiss, not to speak of sexual rapture. Displaying his knack for dispositio-the rhetorical arrangement of material--Bernard uses sermon 6 to bridge the spiritual focus of sermon 5 to the carnality of the kiss senoons. Sermon 6 refers to mankind's inability to understand God's spiritual ways. SUch a statement not only explains the reason for the Incarnation, but also the reason behind Bernard's invocation of the fleshly figure of the kiss: He becaire incarnate for the sake of carnal nen, that he might induce than to relish the life of the Spirit In the body, I repeat, and through the body, he performed wonderful deeds. (Bernard, Serm. 33) Enlarging this carnal need, Bernard showed it as the means to the Spirit: It was necessary that the sinner should receive pardon for her sins while lying prone at God's feet of flesh, kissing these same feet with her lips of flesh. This utter prostration of the sinner, who in Bernard's rhetoric has changed gender from the male penitent to the returning Bride, is necessary for the kiss to occur, which, Bernard cautioned, nrust be "understood in a spiritual sense" (~. 35). Trying to emphasize this "sense," he defined God's feet. One foot is "truth and judgroont"; the other is "mercy." He urged the kissing of both feet in order to avoid the errors of "despair" or "pernicious

PAGE 62

55 security" (Sermones 37). The effects of this senoon do 100re, though, than just precipitate Christ's gift of love and provide a base for conversion. The effects pervade experiential planes. For instance, not only is the sexually subordinate position accorded to a feminine representation, but the position is horizontal with the ground. Conmunal access is horizontal. Furthenoc>re, the prone position -was accepted by the medieval Church as the correct copulatory position, as opposed to other "unnatural" ones. Next, there is a reverse order of bodily connection; the head of the woman applies itself to the male extremities--the feet. Also, the connection of feet and lips is emphasized by repeating "flesh" and by urging two kisses. But to be fair to Bernard, he did J:rake the spiritual connection, too, when he ascribed a trinity of Christian qualities-truth, judgment, and nercy--to God's two feet. In sermon 7, dwelling on the point, Bernard returned to the kiss of union and specified it as the Bride's request: "I.et him kiss me with the kiss of his nouth. 11 Since a kiss, then as now, presupposes affection, Bernard examined affection. After he used the figure of division to define (Cicero, pseud. 361) the various "affections," Bernard contrasted the Bride's affection as love: "She who asks for a kiss feels love." such affection is the epitcme of gifts: "This affection of love excels among the gifts of nature, especially when it returns to its source, which is God" (231). Character delineation is the figure which uses signs and attributes to "know" a person (Cicero, pseud. 387), and Bernard utilized it when the "affection" of the Bridegroom's Word is show to the Bride's Soul. Bernard placed love here in the domain of marriage:

PAGE 63

56 So then love especially and chiefly belongs to those who are married and it is not inappropriate to call the loving soul a Bride She does not ask for freedan or payment or an inheritance or learning, but for a kiss, and she cannot disguise the flame which is so evident. (Bernard 232) Her love is such, Bernard said, that she cannot see the "majesty" of Him whan she dares to love. The only explanation for her daring to ask him for a kiss is that she nru.st be intoxicated: "Is she drunk? Indeed she isl" This odd concoction of intoxication, spiritual thirst, and sexual desire is made even odder by Bernard adding rhetorical palliation-praise combined with frankness (Cicero, pseud. 351)-to show that she did not present her request for a kiss directly, but did it "modestly" through the mediation of those present (angels, in Bernard's estimation) as if the Bridegroom were not there (Bernard 232): She desires to be kissed and she asks for what she desires. But she does not name him whan she loves, because she has so often spoken of him to them. Therefore she does not say, 'I.et him, or him, kiss me,' but just, 'I.et him kiss re,' just as Mary Magdalene did not say the name of him whan she sought And so then she, speaking to the Bridegroom's companions, takes it that they know what she means, and she speaks no name when she bursts forth about her beloved. 'let him kiss re with the kiss of his muth.' (Bern. 235) In the previous passage four main ix>ints are made: unneeded names, the issue of mediation, a canparison with Mary Magdalene, and the Bride's ooldness. Since naming is a human sound system for canmunicating knowledge of presence, an ambiguous referenc:e such as "him" fixes a form of familiarity. The company is quite aware of the Bridegroom's presence; all know that the Bride wants the privileged

PAGE 64

57 kiss of the muth fran him and no one else. Since language is not needed to identify his presence, we nay infer that the mystical presence not only need not, but cannot be symbolically represented.31 Nevertheless, it is the human language ananating frcm the upper vertical region of the body-the muth-wich expresses desire for the experience. The socially horizontal incorporation of other beings or intermediaries in bringing together the wills of Bride and Bridegroom makes a parallel of the ecclesiastical/ioonastic mediation between laity and divinity, not to speak of the mediation of the Virgin Mary and the saints with Christ, one of the theological issues (Pelikan 165) which Bernard bolstered in his sermns. The difference, though, is that the nediation of the Church and its saints is not horizontal, but hierarchical. Periphrasis has again twisted our awareness of :aediating beings who canbine divine and human qualities in spiritual mediation. The cross of horizontal and vertical planes is the space of sermn 7's rhetorical experience. Through his invocation of Mary Magdalene, Bernard connected the heavy imagery of sensuality, love, forgiveness, and spirituality to the familiarity of the soul for God and retracement in Christ. Even in the English work, Mirror of Simple Souls, Mary Magdalene "is held up as a IOOdel for the mystic because she thus 'drewe God to hir'" (Riehle 74). Juxtaposing sensual femininity turned pure, Bernard presented the pure soul 'Who "does not love in fleshly desire" turned passionate with a spiritual love that made her drunk and oblivious to God's "majesty." In fact, he praised her boldness and lack of subterfuge in "tell[ing] him clearly 'What she desires." Bernard dramatized his mystical theology when he

PAGE 65

58 described her demand for the "kiss" as an ecstatic spontaneous overflow of the "force of love!" This linguistic ejaculation erupting fran a drunkenness in the soul muffles her discrimination of the overwhelming nature of God canpared to the soul's relative insignificance. Bernard enhanced his description of the vertical novement of the soUl's language by locating her as 11 can[ing] out of the wine cellar" (232). Concluding this passage on the drunken soUl, Bernard reinforced it with the psalmist's c::x::mrent to God: "They shall l::e intoxicated with the plenty of your house, and you will give them the torrents of your pleasure to drink" (Ps 35:9). Rarefying the experience of the "kiss" in senoon 8, Bernard repeatedly used the ancient trope of hyPerbole to inform his mnks about "the suprene kiss, the kiss of the muth" and cautioned them to "Listen m:>re carefUlly to that which tastes the sweeter, is enjoyed the mre rarely, and is the mre difficult to understand" (236). In this serm:>n Bernard made several distinctions. First, through hyperbaton--a figure which makes use of an audience's mezoory to make a word order change (Cicero, pseud. 339)-he drew attention to what we note as a choice of prepositions. Bernard mentioned that if the Bride had said, "Let him kiss JIB with his muth" (emphasis mine), she woUld have been referring to God himself, and this she woUld not have 11 dare[d]." Next, he doubled the identification of the kiss as a "new kiss, not fran the Bridegroom's muth but from the kiss of his 100uth" (emphasis mine). Another periphrasic twist occurred "When Bernard communally connected the kiss to "breath": He quoted fran John's gospel that Jesus breathed on his apostles and told them, "Receive the

PAGE 66

59 Holy Spirit" (236). The kiss was not, then, the breath at all (as in Abelard and Plato), but the "invisible Spirit." Bernard cx>nfirmed this image when he said, "It is appropriate to think of the Holy Spirit as the kiss" (237. Emphasis mine). Bernard continued the kiss accumulation making connections through knowledge and love. "So when the Bride asks for a kiss," he said, "she begs to be flooded with the grace of this threefold knowledge as much as nx>rtal flesh can bear"(238). The "threefold knowledge" in this case was the Son's gift which revealed the Father's love through the kiss of the Holy Spirit. Bernard, paradoxically, given the senoons he preached,32 cautioned against reliance ai the senses or intellectual curiosity. His example was the Bride who "does not trust her senses or rely an the vain speculations of human curiosity," but instead: asks for a kiss And that knowledge which is given in a kiss is received with love, for a kiss is the sign of love the grace of the kiss brings with it a double gift, both the light of knowledge and the wealth of devotion This kiss leaves no room for error or apathy. (Bernard 239) Riehle identifies this canbination of knowledge and love as part of "affective mysticism" when he says, "Hence for the mystic affective contemplation implies receiving wisdom and savouring divine love at the sane time" (109). After telling his audience what the kiss brought, Bernard rhetorically reversed time to the anticipation of the kiss, and told the bride to get prepared as if he and his audience were dramatically present: "Therefore let the Bride prepare her two lips" (Bernard 239). Symbolically, this preparation involved understanding through love, desire for wisdom, and fulfillment through

PAGE 67

60 grace, as demnstrated through Bernard's evocation of Psalm 44: "Your lips are mist with grace, for God has blessed you forever" (239). Literally, m::>ist lips are erotic, especially as preparation for the groan's entrance. We cannot deny this bridal evocation even "When aware of the spiritual connection of "grace." We may presUIIe the parallel lips of human anatany to which Chaucer's ''Miller's Tale" alludes. Bernard, then, expanded and clarified the unity found in the kiss through comparison when he noted, "And so the Father, kissing the Son, pours into him in full the mysteries of his divinity, and breathes the sweetness of love" (239). Of ex>urse, Bernard was quick to Jll2Iltion that no human had ever seen such a holy embrace as that of the trinity, and added that he has teen made aware of it through the Gospel of John: ''Ihe only begotten who was in the boscm of the Father, he has told' (Jn 1:18) us. ~d what is that telling but a kiss? But it is the kiss of a kiss, not of the mouth. Hear about the kiss of the m::>uth, 'I and the Father are one' (Jn 10:30), and again, 'I am in the Father and the Father in ne' (Jn 14:10). 'lhis is a kiss fran muth to routh which no creature can receive. It is a kiss of peace and love But let us distinguish mre clearly between the two. (Bernard 240) He who received the fullness is given the kiss of the muth, but he woo receives fran the fullness (Jn 1:16) is given the kiss of the kiss. (Bernard, Serm. 51) Though the latter translation by Walsh is more canprehensible using "from" than Evans who uses 11 of, 11 33 there still seems little difference in the cause, only the metonymic effects of being a recipient: "fullness" equals "fUllness," but "routh" does not equal 11 kiss. 11 There does seen to be scmething else going on here--a kind of prioritizing of the male divinity connection with the stream of grace which they both emit and share in the "kiss of the kiss." Fortunately,

PAGE 68

61 for the spiritual aspect, Bernard clarified the distinction a little further on when he used St. Paul's "kiss" in contrast to Christ's. Paul could not reach the "face of glory" so his humble request was bestowed by a "kiss of the kiss," rut Christ "m:!ets the Father's m::>uth directly" and receives the "kiss of the ioouth" (serm. 51). Bernard ended this senoon with a consideration that "the Lord your God . perhaps ought not to be kissed, but adored with the Father and the Holy Spirit" (241). Sermon 9 picks up the Biblical allusion to Jerusalem as whore: "But you have sinned with many lovers, and yet you return to me! says the Lord" (Jer 3:1). Bernard mentioned the Bride's past adultery with other lovers who abused and finally repudiated her so that she returned to the Bridegroan kissing his feet in penitence. His love and forgiveness emboldened the Bride into demanding the "kiss of the hand" laden with its obtainable virtues (Bernard, Serm. 53). Bernard's direct reference to sexual promiscuity with Biblical support shows a cultural fantasy of woman on the ground begging forgiveness to man. Where before the penitent approached God by vertical stages, the Bride must speak, demanding the helping hand, so that she, too, nay follow the upward trail of kisses. Saint Bernard showed the Bride as fearless of her husband's renenbrance of her sins and of the possibility that he would renounce her. In fact, she presents no reasonable account for her restless demand for "the kiss of his :nouth," explaining "It is desire that drives me on, not reason" (~. 54). The bridal epithet seems strangely awry as Bernard had her recount years of "dry" fidelity and chaste duty as the cause for her love's "thirst" for the

PAGE 69

62 "kiss of his ioouth" (Bemard, Sennones 55). While Bemard was probably paralleling ascetic denial to the Bride's dry duty, the audience is still made vividly aware of its mm sexual "thirst," presumably transforned into spiritual desire. He extended the parallel to knowledge of God, which seems to use the Biblical sense, when he identified his audience's inability to canprehend the "subtle truths of God" as the Bride's dryness and noted their "yearn[ing] to be kissed" by Him. Building the rhetorical power of his last concept by heightening the sense of taste through desire, he returned to the psalmist who thirsted for "that kiss at whose touch the lips are so bedewed with the richness of spiritual grace" (Bemard, Senn. 55). At this point Bernard brought his audience to the climax of the kiss sernx:ms. There is no doubt that the "holy kiss" caused conception since Bridegroan informed his Bride: You will know that you have received the kiss because you will be conscious of having conceived. That explains the expansion of your breasts, filled with milky richness far surpassing wine. (Senn. 58) Though -we are bound to realize that the breast milk sj'lllbolized the nourishloont given to spiritual babies and resulted fran the "kisses of contemplation" (Sermones 59), we cannot fail to remember the drunken Bride's ecstasy wen the milk was contrasted with wine. '!his last thematically created "kiss" senoon sums up Bernard's mystic fiducia. It shows his confidence in Christ, as Bridegroom, showing love; it shows Bemard's desire for the spiritual in his carnal terminology; it parallels his outward expression of ecstasy in the nourishment produced by God's kiss.

PAGE 70

63 References to the kiss, as mentioned previously, are severely limited after sermon 9. '!hey do combine, however, the erotic, spiritual, and social dimensions of these early sermons in terms of spatial novernent. For instance in sermon 28, the spiritual aspect is emphasized when Bernard contrasts the kiss of man's hand to Job's adoring kiss--gift to God (Serrnones 94). In sermon 30, Bernard lists antitheses which include "the curb and the kiss" to show the different ways "ardor" nay re rreasured. 'Ihe Bridegroom's "maneuvering" for the Bride's kiss is described as a change of presence in sermon 31, and his kisses prove him l::oth "loving and charming" (Serm. 130-31). Sermon 38 connects the Bridegroom's "colloquys" with "kisses"; they are both privileged and intimate communications which inspire the daring of the Bride (Serrnones 189). The horizontally social aspect of the Bride's milk is furthered in her preaching assignment which Bernard applied in sermon 41, his last kiss reference: We learn from this that only too often we rrrust interrupt the sweet kisses to feed the needy with the milk of doctrine. (On the Song 208) If all these kisses are spiritual indicators and do not display an erotic component, then why should Cllrist "perhaps not re kissed"? Though no critics show a willingness to explain the eroticien of St. Bernard's mystic kiss, critic Wolfgang Riehle willingly identified "the erotic component" as "characteristic of the mysticism of St Bernard and St Francis" (136). Even with this fairly straightforward identification, Riehle feels the need to castigate the Englishwoman, Margery Kempe, for exactly the same "component" when he said of her: "In a way which is typical for her sick, neurotic psyche she uses the

PAGE 71

64 verb ravishen in both an erotic and a mystical meaning" (96). Perhaps the cause of Riehle's disgust lies with her lack of canonization, or with her loud cries that would not subtly insinuate themselves into his psyche, or with the fact that her gender presents the erotic from a female perspective instead of a female appropriation. st. Bernard's experience and Biblical study were the basis of his mysticism and rhetoric. As we have seen, he was not above using erotic rhetoric to keep his audience's interest and to rrove them sensually through the space of their physical desires to the abstraction of their spiritual desires. Ordinarily, the recognition of his erotic dimension might indicate condemnation, which is probably why he and his admirers deny such a connection. Ethical considerations which he helped forge require heavy penalties for mixing Christianity with sexuality. It is true that Bernard was a successful manipulator of love with far-reaching effects through the centuries that followed him. Yet, we can hardly anit this man's life or the rrotive of social love that it presents. It is through his description of the kiss in Song that we view his mystical theology of sexual love and contrition as metaphors for the union of God with soul. In Bernard the "union" translated into a charity which empowered his teaching, preaching, political involvement and loyalty. Riehle points out that "Bernard expresses the teaching of affective mysticism--that love is the only fonn of experience and knowledge of God" (111). Leclercq identifies Bernard as quite aware of the human condition in the containment of society He says:

PAGE 72

65 l'e exist in a society fran which -we receive and to which we nn.ISt contribute, and this entails :uany practical consequences of which Bernard often spoke to his mnks. He greatly insisted en social grace as a requirement for any cammmal life Everything Bernard said about fratenlal love in the rest of his "WOrk and everything m did throughout his life in the service of his neighbor, was simply the practical application of the social character of love. ("Intro.," Evans 41) SUch acknowledgement shoUld cause us to examine rontemplation. Is it that peaceful, quiet state known as meditation? Can it really be a contained, inward IIDVement if Bernard was so active? I.eclercq says that 11 The :ioore he [Bernard] enjoyed contemplative solitude with God, the mre responsible m felt for sharing with others the interior light he had received" ( 11 Intro. Evans 18) Phencmmological data indicates contemplation is only outwardly calm; the alpha waves of the brain synchronize positively with "traits of the strong nervous system"; alpha abundance is always high in such people. Yogis 'Who produce greater light discharges fran their bodies while photographed with the CUrlian procedure nay be cnly reflecting a rise in their generally lower alpha abundance in canparison with experienced Christian contemplatives.3 4 Fram this evidence, sketchy as it still is, -we may infer that contemplatives are much :ioore active than passive. Further study might explain 'Why such people generate mre bodily energy outward than the Eastem contemplatives and the inexperienced subjects. Certainly, this very m::wanent is analogous to the m::wement of the "kiss" sermons. The Bride asks for "the kiss of the m::mth"; her desire is for Divine Ulion; she Dakes mr request within the ccmnunity--a social intercessicm that confirms her

PAGE 73

66 connection. Thus, the soul receives its grace fran Christ through a kind of ccmnunity intercourse. st Bernard's energy has never been disputed. As M.lrray indicates: The center of gravity of Christendan was clearly at Clairvaux rather than at Rome It is no wonder that Luther, looking back into the Middle Ages, should feel himself to be in the succession of st Bernard [especially as Bernard relied on Christ]. (27) But whereas Luther's fiducia saw man as a sinner saved by Christ, in effect, a finished product sealed with God's kiss, Bernard saw man within a continuum of love, allowing the so\ll to forget its regressions.35 ~spite the shame and guilt which this approach entails, it is due to Bernard's energetic personality, though, that "one of the mst notable products of Western mysticism" (25) exists. We have noted the many influences on St. Bernard and though -w refute Evans' praise, we nay still join his sentiment when re says that the senwns on the Song of Songs "draw for their inspiration fran the Bible and on Bernard's own thoughts, and there appears to l:e no reference to any of the Fathers. All that Bernard had, he had of himself" (26). The \lllion of Bride with Bridegroom through the kiss is Bernard's Christocentric mystical theology, which had not only erotic connections, but also socio-political implications. Bernard saw the Bride's desire as causal, and the Bridegroan's magnificence as divine; the kiss, was both the action of grace bestowed upon the soul and the union of divinity. The metaphor of the kiss incorporated a trinity whose emanation was grace, brought about by a meeting of wills-that of Bride and Bridegroan. It is important to notice, though, that the Bride did not lose her identity in union

PAGE 74

67 with the Bridegroan since such inmersion would not be consistent with Bernard's individualism. Describing mystical union, be said: God and man remain distinct fran one another. Each retains his own will and substance. 'lhey do not mingle their substances, but rather consent in will. This union is for them a carmunion of wills and an agreement in love. (Quoted in Ozment 131). The doctrine of grace which Bernard espoused showed the Bride already infused with desire fran her first words. SUch desire for divine union, he believed, was a result of already infused grace, which is continually desired after receiving the kiss. Besides erotic and socio-political implications, a third division of Bernard's mystical theology demonstrated by the kiss of fullness was God's annipotence. It was God who kissed the Son with the Holy Spirit, an action unobservable by mankind. Because it was only through Christ that Bernard saw man achieving \lllion; it was Christ's kiss that carried a "wonderful sweetness," one of the odors of mysticism. lastly, nankind's weakness and need for God -were paralleled in the Bride's intoxicated "daring," in the presence of the Bridegroan's "majesty," and in the prostration of the penitent kissing Christ's feet. The metaphoric "kiss" sermons, then, amply demonstrated Bernard's persuasion through eroticism, sublimity in spirituality, and Christian social service, in other words, his mysticism of love. '!be contained, horizontal, and vertical experiences-transferred through his erotic rhetoric-all started with a kiss. Notes 1 It is arguable that Plato caused the original dichotomy. Certainly, his culture prioritized male beauty and male love and denigrated the female to aspects of sordid sensuality and matter. His writings reflected the polarity, but they also demanded control of

PAGE 75

68 matter in the service of divinity. Prior to the writings of Plato, there are indications of a human unified understanding of the spiritual-sexual connection, but "Plato was the first writer in Western intellectual history to make explicit and systematic use of the language of sexuality for knowing" (Evelyn Keller 21), just as there are indications that a rore exalted position ws given to rhetoric than his diatrite against Sophists would have history telieve. In Phaedrus, Plato descrites an early human enjoyment of "the beatific vision" before corruption set in: Whole were we who celebrated that festival, lIDSpotted by all the evils which awaited us in ti.Jie to cane, and whole and unspotted and changeless and serene -were the objects revealed to us in the light of that mystic vision. Pure was the light and pure were we from the pollution of the walking sepulchre which we call a body, to which \le are bound like an oyster to its shell. (56-7) Not only does he nake the body spotted, polluted, and an image of death and prison, but he describes the human soul as "a mixture of good and bad" (50) in an image of a charioteer driving an unruly, passionate horse braced to one which is "fine and good and of noble stock" (51). 'Ibis discourse is embedded within his "science of love" (66) and mingles with his review of rhetoric as an art of persuasion mre properly applied to address the gods than in its usual pursuit of probability without concem for truth (93-4). 2 Each of these religious is contemplative and enclosed as opposed to active in preaching and teaching in the world. They are knO'wn by the noun appellation of "religious," which is a term for any nonastic calling, male or female. The carthusians were contemplatives founded by St. Bruno in 1084. They "attached special importance to silence, manual labor, and the strict suppression of sexual desire" and practiced self-flagellation despite its prohibition by Pope Cleirent VI (Ozment 87). The Victorines, supposedly after St. Victor, adopted the Rule of st. Augustine. The Benedictines follO'Wed the Rule of St. Benedict, and the Cistercians were a reform of that order. 3 Bernard l:egan the sernons an the Canticle of canticles in about 1135. He continued them on and off until his death at age 63. As expositions on the Song, Leclercq tells us, ''he [Bernard] does not go beyond the first verse of the second of the eight chapters of the biblical book" ("Intro.," Evans 22). Actually his eighty-six senoons are his means of expressing contemplation, asceticism, and divine union itself. Each sermon is a unified whole expressing a concept and containing its amplification. 'lb say that they are unfinished, really refers to the organizing plan of the Song itself, not to any lack of unity in the sermons. 4 Jean Leclercq says that the "nost read and rost frequently cc:xamented in the medieval cloister" was none other than "a book of the Old Testament: the Canticle of Canticles" (Love 84).

PAGE 76

69 5 For a discussion of the literary composition of the Sermons, see Jean Leclercq's introduction in Killian Walsh Trans., On the Song of Songs II. 6 Leclercq proposes that grammar and mysticism are inextricably bound: "These two elements are the two constants of Western monastic culture: on the one hand, the study of letters; on the other, the exclusive search for God" (Love 22). Commenting on the first half of the ninth century, he asks, "How does grammar help one get to Heaven? By making possible the reading of the Scripture and the Fathers It is a gift of God, like his word itself, from which it cannot be separated since it furnishes the key to it" (Leclercq, Love 44). Murphy suggests that Isidore of Seville (c.570-636) "brings grammar and rhetoric together" in Rhetoric in the Middle Ages (73). We may also remember D:matus' influence "in rredieval Europe both l::efore and after 1200," especially his Barbarisrnus; it "tended to create a special grarnmatical interest in the lore of figurae" ( 140) because he included thirty-three figures and tropes. My point is that the use of language is sometimes discussed in terms of grammar and sometimes rhetoric. At times over the centuries they have been separated; at other times they have teen combined. I tend to see them usually under the heading of grammar during the medieval period because "As one rcodern scholar has said in relation to rhetoric, 'in terms of a single subject rnatter--such as style, literature, discourse--it has no history during the middle ages" (Murphy 87). The probable reason is the Platonic condemnation in Gorgias of rhetoric as "cookery": neither could claim to l::e an art nor show concern for the welfare of others in their aim at imnediate gratification (Plato 10). As a classical rather than Christian art, "rhetoric" was not defended until Augustine's~ Doctrina Christiana, but it would take several hundred years for another Christian to write a rhetorical treatise. John of Salisbury's Metalogicon "squeeze[s] out" rhetoric, says Murphy (129, FN 122). 7 11 The Ars Praedicandi, the complex theory of the thematic sennon, appears early in the thirteenth century" (Murphy 88). Homiletic, then, was not a prescribed art during Bernard's time of the 12th. century, and earlier had only been reserved for bishops. It does have a history, though, in the Jewish community where scriptural readings and comments were invited (Murphy 273), but the line between preaching and teaching was not always easy to discern (Murphy 278). Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care was more "a treatise on moral pathology" than a plan for sermon designs. See also my note 14. 8 0rigen is credited with the use of three senses in exegesis: "the literal, the moral, and the intellectual or spiritual; and the last was the perfect and complete rreaning" (Pelikan I: 61). Origen also did a commentary on the Song "known to St. Bernard but of another spirit than his" (Gilson 17). "It is the mysticism of an exegete" (Gilson, FN 7, 216). 9 M:)st scholars agree that Aristotle's Rhetorica was not nearly as influential as the pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica Ad Herennium and

PAGE 77

70 parts of Cicero's De Inventione (Murphy 132), both of which refrain from subjective disclosures. 10 While Bernard is speaking about the perfmres of the bride, he delivers a lengthy tribute to hmnility. Again while extolling the name of Jesus, he discusses sane Old Testament names which takes him to the resurrection of a boy who yawns seven times; fran there Bernard iooves to the seven steps of conversion, bringing him to the Spirit of God in the second verse of the canticle (Ieclercq, Love 74-5). 11 keording to legend and sane critics, Origen castrated himself because of concupiscent feelings. see Astell, 3. 12 In 1948 S.M. Stern published 20 short lyrical poems, the oldest of which was written before 1040 AD and found in old manuscripts in cairo, F.gypt with Arabic or H::mrew characters, rut in an old Spanish dialect of Mozarabique, forerunner of the castilian. 'Ihese short love lyrics with imagery very similar to the Song of Songs predates the French Provenc;al lyrics. Typical of the jarchas is the fact that they always deal with love and are narrated by a young male lover; they frequently address a friend or teacher and comnent on the absence of the beloved; on occasion they anploy the beloved's mther as confidante to the lover's canplaints; and, they use formulas also discoverable in 13th. and 14th. century Galician and Portuguese and in 15th. and 16th. century Castilian love songs (sanchez-Romeralo and Ibarra 10). 13 '!he differences between dialectic and rhetoric as delineated in Book Four of Topica Boetii are: 11 1. Dialectic proceeds by interrogation and response; rhetoric has uninterrupted discourse. 2. Dialectic employs perfect syllogisms; rhetoric is satisfied with brief enthymemes. 3. Dialectic seeks to dislodge an adversary; rhetoric tries to move a judge or judges" (Murphy 70). 14 '!hough I.eclercq says Bernard's genre was the "senoon," a structure of "exordium, developnent, and a conclusion" (Love 6), Murphy says that "all the evidence seems to point to the conclusion that a purposeful choice of nontheory [lack of rhetorical arrangement, on the lines of inspiration] was regarded by many churchmen, over many centuries, as a viable way to respond to Christ's preaching mandate Aside frcm Pope Gregory, there are only one or two other preaching theorists worth rentioning before AD 1200" (300). Thus, Bernard's development of anthropOIOOrphic tropes and scriptural "reminiscence" is a unique rhetorical preaching theory persuasive of the ioovement fran human to divine state. 15 Bernard did not invent the marriage symbolism already in the Song, but he does develop allegorical wedding unions within the human soul's desire for Christ and His kiss gift, within the Olurch's ccmnunal desire for Christ and the Father's gift of the Word fran the routh of Christ spiritually manifesting itself as a kiss, and among the Trinity with the Spirit as means of union between Christ and God the Father when '!hey share a kiss.

PAGE 78

71 16 Murphy Jrentions that analogy and netaphor "are especially praninent in the medieval period" (276). "It was at least partly in response to pagan criticism of the stories in the Bible that the Christian apologists, like their Jewish predecessors, took over and adapted the nethods of pagan allegorism (Pelikan I: 30), in particular the analogy of the body used in Aesop's fables, later by st. Paul, "But the creative principle underlying all :aedieval exegesis is the evolutionary character of all sacred History, the conceptioo of the Church as a growing lx>dy, and this lx>dy being the total Christ" (Leclercq, Love 80). 17 Referring to "the carnally minded reader" as "endanger[ed]" by the Song's "lushly erotic" language (1), Ann Astell also re.minds us that the literature of the Cistercians, among others of the twelfth century, "required (and inspired) a body of ioonastic love literature which is noticeably different [because of] its incorporation of feminine imagery and in its preferred symbolism of God's love for humankind by the love between a man and a "WClllall-a symbolism explicitly derived fran the Song of Songs" (9). Etienne Gilson does not appear to argue with the licentiousness which such sensual "mystical" ecstasy evokes and rather than freezing it with cold disdain, heats it with ardor that c:x:mtemptuously ignites a union fran which courtly love usually refrains (186). In effect the symbolism is erotic because it canes fran an erotic source and is used because of a level of experience that constitutes the adult-entered Cistercian ioonastic camrunity in a way that the Benedictines did not compose because of celibate lives led fran childhood. But, according to Astell and Gilson, if we read his serioons that way, we are "carnally minded reader[s]." 18 'lbe pseudo-Cicero of the M Herennium identifies the "task of the public speaker" as securing "as far as possible the agreement of his hearers" (5). Furthermore, Murphy identifies the Rhetorica Ad Herennium and parts of Cicero's De Inventione as being most influential an the rhetoric of the middle ages; he discounts Aristotle's Rhetorica since it was widely Jmown as a book of "'iooral philosophy' rather than a book on discourse" (132). 19 origen (In canticum canticorum, trans. Rufinus, Patrologiae Cursus Canpletus, Series Graeca, Ed. J.P. Migne. 162 vols., with Latin translation. Paris, 1857-66; vol. 13, c63) aclmowledges the possibility of erotic incitement by the Scriptures: "occasione divinae Scripturae ccmooveri et incitari videbitur ad libidinem carnis" (quoted in Astell 1). Astell also attributes 0rigens exegesis as "parallel[ing] the process of mystical marriage which is the Song's secret subject" (3). William of St. Thierry encouraged Bernard's exposition on the Song. His own knowledge of the subject led him to collect "Gregory the Greats sayings on the Song of Songs, and those of St. Ambrose; he wrote an exposition of his own" (see Patrologia Latina 180, 441-526). Other ccmnentators on the Song at the tine included: Anselm of La.on, Bruno of Segni, Rupert of D:!utz, Honorius of

PAGE 79

72 Autun, Philip of Harveng, Gilbert de la Poree, Gilbert of Hoyland, John of Ford, Thomas the Cistercian, and Alain de Lille (Astell 8-9). Astell also refers us for ordered commentaries and summaries to Marvin Pope's edition of '!he Song of Songs, Anchor Bible Series (1977), 114-24, 236-42. 20 Riehle took this information from G.Gerleman, Ruth. Ias Hohelied. Biblischer Komrnentar--Altes Testament, 18 [Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1965], p.53 and passim. 21 See Etienne Gilson's chapter "Courtly I.ove and Christian Mysticism Hypothesis of Influence" in Mystical Theology of St. Bernard ( 186-197). 22 See Sharon Fanner's "Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives" in Speculum, 61: 517-543. 23 Etienne Gilson's took '!he Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, translated by A.H.C. Downes, discusses the points of Bernard's doctrine of love together with the soul's attempt to regain its original state of that love. (His most concise recognition of the mystical theology can 1::e found on p.71.) How Bernard displays genuine rnysticisn is not specifically dealt with, but certain factors enable such judgment. First, he refers to experiencing a love which is unselfish and all-forgiving. Second, Bernard identifies the experience as different for each person, yet having in coim10n a transitory nature. 'Ihird, Bernard feels the need to corrmunicate his experience. Through Bernard's language, we glimpse a mystic who also presented a mystical theology. 2 4 Mystical rhetoric refers to specific ways of describing the experience which are repeated through the ages and constitute its cant. For instance, an anonymous rronk early in the twelfth century wrote "The City of God" and asked, "Who then will conduct us to the city of the great king in order that what we now read in these pages and see only as in a glass, darkly, we may then look upon the face of God present 1::efore us, and so rejoice?" (Leclercq, Love 65). However, the sane phrase was stated in 1 Cor 13: 12 as "Now we see through a glass darkly, but hereafter face to face" and quoted by Bernard in his sermon On Conversion (Evans, Bernard 90). Common tropes to mystical rhetoric include: fire, cloud, spear/arrow, light, flower, nrusic, perfume, et al. 25 Ambiguity is also part of mystical rhetoric and 1::egins in the Christian tradition with the Old Testament Yaweh, God: I am who am. '!he idea that God refuses to specifically identify himself indicates his divinity. Bernard connects this lack of naming with the Bridegroom and even the Bride, l::oth of whom are referred to by rreans of onomathesia, a means of naming according to the nature of the being as used in Genesis, as their position indicates; but the ambiguity in the Song also surrounds the speaker. Often, there is no real indicator of who is speaking or when a change of speaker has taken place.

PAGE 80

73 Ambiguity was furthered by the ancient Westem mystics in order to keep the sacramental nature of religion out of the hands of the uninitiated; as the Pseudo-Dionysius says, "it is the protective garb of the understanding of 'What is ineffable and invisible to the camoon multitude" (283). 26 The "elect" vary among specific Christian religions. '!he most camoon Pre-Reformation reference is to those people who receive a specific call fran God to lead a life separated fran nost of humanity by its rigorous denial of the carnal call. Bernard's use of the term seems to refer to nonks: anchorites or hermits, those who live apart fran carmunities; cenobites, those who live in fraternal ccmnunity charity; perhaps even m:mdicant ascetics, those who wander fran place to place and are given alms. On occasion it refers to those who have received the gift of divine union, which though Bernard avers is possible to anyone, only happens to a relative few-the mystics. 27 Scm:! discussion of the history and ramifications of the Sacrament of Penance in the fonn of private confession may be found in Michel Foucault's The History of sexual! ty, vol. 2, trans. Robert Hurley (1980). Various excellent articles on this subject are in Philosophy of Sex (1980), edited by Alan Soble. For an individual as well as cultural approach see Donald Goergens The Sexual Celibate (1979). There is also c:c:mrentary on this topic in Sharon Farmar's article cited above. The point is that Christian celibacy began because of the apocalyptic expectation wherein Christians would not be in the carnal body and would thereby be whole through union with God. 'When that occurrence did not happen, chastity became nore connected with holiness. Consequently, sexuality became a source of defilement for secular as well as nonastic and priestly vocations. respite the decree of the regional Council of Elvira in Spain (c.306 AD) opposing sexual relations for bishops and priests, narried or not, such relations did not stop and became a recognizable power obstructing ecclesiastical obedience. The confessional was the 100ans to regulate this power, and priests were instructed to ask specific questions related to sexual activities which included its nature and frequency. The effect was to extend Church regulation into the bed.roan. As for the nonks, their vows were an extension of their calling, but even for than much confusion reigned on the topic. Many observers have termed the sexual encounters of both ecclesiastic and nonastic nembers of this time period as scandalous, but the observations are fran our historical period, a time known for its clear and wholescme ethical divisions. Voluntary celibacy, as taken in the cenobitic vows, releases the individual to the power of God in his/her life, and should not be a denigration ofsexuality. Celibacy is, after all, not a divine law nor even an infallible Church order. 28 Cistercian asceticism attempts to pattern thought, feeling, and behavior after Christ. Thomas Merton identifies three basic steps in the asceticism pranulgated by Bernard: (!)awareness of one's own shortcanings, (2)humility through acceptance, (3)xoortification of appetites: simplicity of intellect, nortification of self-will through

PAGE 81

74 obedience. Thanas Merton on Saint Bernard (119). The kernel of this asceticism is to strip the veils of sin from the soul which is an image of the image of God; it is a IOOV'eIOOilt the individual makes toward God whereby he might again recognize the soul enough to infuse grace and strengthen its IOOVemant to regain divinity. In symbolic terms, three Biblical figures represent the cross of Christ which each Christian must carry in ascetic JOOVement. Penitence is represented by I.azarus; good works by Martha; contemplation by Miry. Bernard also refers to the sterile but beautiful Rachel as contemplation and the fertile but unattractive Ieah as action. ~rton explains the purpose of "the Cistercian Usages is, according to St. Bernard, to keep man in an atm::>sphere where, by obedience, poverty, solitude, prayer, fasting, silence, manual labor, and the ccmoon life [nx>nastic ccmnunity], he will be forced to recognize his misery without God, with the result that he will turn to God in supplication, begging him for that grace and infused charity which will enable him to purify his soul" (110). 29 'lhere is sane critical disagreement on the order of action and contemplation. Jaroslav Pelikan says, "Bernard of Clairvaux, simultaneously (or alternately) a reflective mystic and an eminence grise" in The Growth of Medieval Theology (298). Themas Merton sees Bernard as prOIOOting the "mixed life," but Jean Ieclercq believes that "it is a concept missing in St. Bernard and objected to by St. Thanas [Aquinas]" (Thanas Merton on Saint Bernard 16). As is obvious fran my discussion, I believe Bernard describes active life as a necessary proceeding fran the contemplative, which is a sweeter and mre sacramental state. 30 There is little connection to Pseudo-Dionysius in St. Bernard's writing, celestial hierarchy envisions gradations of "being" from the human ecclesiastical hierarchy to the celestial divisions of saints and angels to God. The "ladder" is used by Bernard in an ascent to hmnility. Dante's scala is an upward climb to the soul's mystical union in Paradiso, interestingly attended by St. Bernard. 31 'lhe names of God/Christ have been the subject of much mystical speculation over the centuries. The origin of such speculation, as might be guessed, lies in the Hebrew Bible where God identifies himself as "I am who am" a translation effected by the letters naking up YHVH. 'lhe Jewish Kabbalah informs much of its mysticism on these symbols, letters, positions, and numerical equivalents. The spatial mvement vertically through the seven levels of the Sefiroth, that hidden sphere of God, to the source of God's emanations is just another way in which the symbols may guide the initiated on his journey through himself to union with God. The most notable expressions of the mysticism surrounding the names may be found in the Pseudo Dionysiun (spelled-unto disassociate him from the riotous Greek god, Dionysius) treatise on 'lhe Divine Names and the Renaissance Spanish mystical scholar Luis de Leon's book Nombres de Dios.

PAGE 82

75 32 I refer to Bernard's dependency on sensual reception of his sernx>ns as I have explicated it through his rhetorical usage. 33 Evans translates: "He who receives of the fullness receives the kiss of the muth. He who receives of the fullness (Jn 1:16) receives the kiss of the kiss" (240). 'Ibis translation shows no difference in the qualifying adverbial phrases, so I chose the Walsh translation. 34 Marilyn May Mallory did sare empirical testing an carmelites in the Netherlands. She used a canbinatian of psychological, observation, and E.E.G. tests. She finds high alpha abundance as the normal pattern in experienced Christian contemplatives in contrast with the surge of alpha abundance in zen and Yogi practitioners during contemplation (100). She uses Eysenck's theory of personality to identify extroverted, stable personalities and introverted, weak ones (70-73). Eysenck's The Biological Basis of Personality (1967) shows introverts as over-sensitive to their environment and, thus, negatively influenced by it. Extroverts, he finds, however, have a better system of inhibitors which activate a kind of neurological protection. Mallory records inhibition and anxiety producing faster beta -waves as opposed to the abundance of alpha -waves in the mre stable contemplatives. 35 In Gilsons Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, he refutes any similarities between Luther and Bernard. In Murray's Abelard and St Bernard, the "seal" image is used by Abelard to describe the trinity. This image received Bernard's strongest condemnation, yet his "kiss" image is very similar in its trinitarian connection.

PAGE 83

CHAPI'ER 2 SOUNOO OF SUBVERSION: MARGERY KEMPE'S UNORTHODOX WEEPING "You may ask what skill enabled her to accanplish this change, or on what grounds did she merit it? I can tell you in a few words. She wept bitterly." (St. Bernard, Senoon 3 of Song of Songs) Locus Twelfth century France is a long way fran fourteenth century England, and the direct simplicity of Margery Kempe's (1373?-1440?) single book is even further fran the rhetorical complexity of Bernard of Clairvaux's many sermons. Nevertheless, the same affective tradition of Christian love continues to breathe in the work dictated by this remarkable woman. 'lhe question to be dealt with in this chapter is a question of how. How does Margery transform the sense of Bernard's I.atinized language into the direct sounds of everyday Middle English. Affective piety, man of the church agreed, tends to promote desire. Thus we should not be surprised to find it as a potentially subversive anotion which takes form in Margery as cne of the nost widely believed "feminine wiles"--tears. This fluid response continues Bernard's sermon 41, but reappropriates it as a wanan's experience of creation. Though she did not read, the Bernardine tradition had been translated into the sermons she heard and the private rounsel she received. Note Bernard's breast milk of doctrine implied in the anchorite's words to her: "Dawtyr, ze sowkyn euyn on Chrystys brest" (Kempe, 18).1 Margery's bodily responses and visions are in the 76

PAGE 84

77 tradition of affective piety, which develops a personal emotional passion in the mind of the believer, envisioning Christ and his life and participating in it. such affective love is the way of individual "feeling" rather than camoon knowledge. One reason that the philosophy of Bernard and the experience of Margery coincide lies simply in their shared bmnanity. Bernard was, as -we have just seen, well able to draw upon metaphors of the body in his descriptions of spiritual experience. As Mark Johnson has recently demonstrated vertical, horizontal, and containment experiences structure our thought processes,2 'but so does the "path" experience. 'The "path" describes the way in which the unbom baby must travel through a narrow and pressing vagina before it emerges painfully into the too-bright light. In such a "path" we might recognize the mystical way of purgation, illumination, and union. We can also recognize the path structure in leaming processes that direct us toward goals. It is a rare learning experience that has us precipitately leap from idea to goal without roving through a process. The birthing process, not quickly recognized because of what appears as an illogical arrangement of her book, is Margery's mystical pilgrimage. Perhaps the reason for our failure to recognize the significance of birthing in The Book of Margery Kempe is canparable in same ways to the failure of people of her own time to understand the truths she discovered. Though giving birth to children was the only reason for marriage recognized by the Church, the physical act was accorded no respect. caroline Bynum's Jesus as Mother tells us that "There was in the general society no mystique of mtherhood; both

PAGE 85

78 medical texts and exhortations to asceticism dwell on the horrors of pregnancy" (143). Its recognizable characteristics in Margery's discourse include: the male-mediated marriage, the bedded intimacy, the creatur's conception, the mternity clothing-white, attention-getting apparel--which added another layer to her already heavy burden of criticism, the breaking of water signified by drenching tears, the pain-racked cries of a we.man in labor, and delivery of the book. 'Ihe process is complete in her autobiography, if not in its expected order. The sensual allusions of Bernard's kiss of conception, which he ended by preparing the Bride's lips, Margery bas transformed into her own physical reality. Though we must train our ears to hear the Song, Margery's mysticism was awakened as she lay in her husband's bed and heard heavenly music. So should we, then, taking our cue fran her, attune ourselves to the sounds in Margery's book. All the critics agree with Margery's voice which denied heresy and affirmed orthodoxy, yet, the question of "orthodoxy" is bound to the way Margery alters Bernard's sensory perception. 'lhe Book speaks a multi-voiced narrative--of tears, hysteria, faith--not the least of which is its subversion of the patriarchal mythes which contained the rredieval Church. Tears, 'We are told, are unmanly; therefore, by default, they became womanly. ?-En see them as -women's rreans of manipulation, as signs of wealmess, as signs of emotionality in the eye/I of male logic. Tears, though they could turn defeat into brilliant victory, are a less than forceful form of revolt. The fact, however, is that many comnunicative Ill;?anings, sane of which are very forceful, have

PAGE 86

79 been attached to tears. CUltural conditioning can harness tears, but Sil:oone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex sees them as a wanans ageless weapon in the battle of the sexes: Tears are wanan's supreme alibi she eludes the nan who is contemplating her, powerless as before a cataract. He considers this performance unfair; but she considers the struggle unfair frcm the start, because no other weapon has been put into her hands. She is resorting cnce mre to uagic conjuration. And the fact that her sobs infuriate the male is one mre reason for sobbing. (608-9) Fran this reflection, then, we should remember that tears can be construed as a reans of defiance as well as a Church-praooted tradition of grace. And there may be mre meaning here. H. M. Parshley, de Beauvoir's translator, chooses "contemplation" for the gazer and "magic conjuration" for the manipulator as equivalencies without mysticism in mind. These words dramatically demonstrate the problem Margery faced. "Contemplation" has associations with reverence of observance and is mst ccmoonly used among religious ccmnunities, whereas "mysticism" retains its muffled association with magic and the occult and is mst ccmoonly used among scholastic camrunities. 'Ihe former is associated with the male; the latter with the female. Furtherroore, the "magic conjuration" seems to fit sociologists constructs of mysticism as an operation that adds power to deprived individuals. If these observations are to be applied to Mrrgery, we may note her defiance of the male-controlled divinity and her perception of power-deprivation as gender-based. A question w cannot help asking is: how did this woman acquire such courage? Born Margery Burnham {or de Brunham} at Bishop's Lynn (now King's Lynn) to an unidentified mother and John Brunham, a

PAGE 87

80 five-ti.ma mayor of the city who had also been a six-ti.ma nenber of Parliament, in Norfolk, England, the self-styled illiterate Margery dictated her autobiography in English to two scribes,3 the second of whcm was one of her confessors and the general redactor of the whole work. The work of the two scribes shows a divided book. Its two parts are stylistically different. The first rambles and chats, revealing social illusions and pain-filled experiences together with a deep faith. The second observes and records in a distanced style.4 'Ihe book does not follow a chronological order or even the familiar frame of adult looking back at youth; instead it depends entirely an associational, memorial construction, spiralling tine in 100re disconcerting ways than even Bernard did with his "reminiscence." The Book of Margery Kempe has been the subject of much interest in recent years, primarily because of our desire to incorporate "her" story into history. Criticism has coalesced around Margery's tears, the nost obviously disturbing feature of her book. For 100st nodern readers, those abundant tears are the manifestations of a menopausal hysteric. M:>re sympathetic readers, who tend to have nore understanding of the tine in which she lived, place her firmly within the Church tradition of tears. strongly critical readers split between a general debasement of mysticism an sexual grounds5 and a specific debasement of Margery's mysticism in its fixed illuminative stage.6 The critical voices agree on a fascination for the book because of its vividness and, perhaps, because of its polarizing effect. By giving readers a secure position fran which to express pontifical judgements, polarization might be considered a virtue. Margery's vividness,

PAGE 88

81 though, seems directly descended fran St. Bernard's love language and should give critics like Wolfgang Riehle? no nore cause for disgust than that of St. Bernard himself, although George Tuma says that "It [Margery's love language] appears nore intense at times than the marriage metaphor in Bernard's canticle de canticorurn" (45). Perhaps, though, such discomfort originates in an objection to a woman using such language, or, perhaps, they inadvertently notice her infringement on the patriarchal tradition. Focus Since Margery's book, not the possible sexism of individual critics, is the subject of our discourse, we should turn from that topic of speculation to the way it reflects and reacts against Church tradition. The way explored will be the mystical path--the familiar Bernardine path of the body. Opposing the general agreement of Margery's orthodoxy, her own book denonstrates her subversion of Church hierarchy in at least ten ways, by: 1. identifying herself as a creatur. 2. refusing the way of silence. 3. a. escaping from ronjugal relations b. envisioning Iten as tempters. 4. refusing to attach herself to an order or to a Church as an anchoress. 5. traveling alone on pilgrimages. 6. confessing direct auditions fran Christ which often circumvented orders from ronfessors and the wishes of bishops and others.

PAGE 89

82 7. hearing the confession of a monk and granting him absolution. 8. performing miracles. 9. envisioning herself caring for and touching Christ. 10. showing reluctance to enter into mystical union with the Godhead. Since we will be reading the signs of her subversion, we need to admit a definition of the term. It is of sare importance to establish what its meaning will be here because sare of its multiple meanings are of relatively recent acquisition. To be "subversive," there must be an order one wishes to overcome. Western patriarchal society is such an order. It is a hierarchy of gender propagated by the Hebrew, Christian, and MJslim religions. God is male power. God is good. He is the law. This law, we know, allowed men to "marry" many wanen. SOlanon had :aore than three hundred wives. Yet for any married woman who had sexual intercourse with another man, even if it were rape, the punishment was death by stoning (Dt 22: 23-25}, a practice continued in the days of Christ (John 8: 1-8}. Fran this beginning, the Christian religion extended God's power by using the body of a virgin as a creative tool for the man-God, Jesus. The duality of Christ was even mirrored in the duality of treatment of warien in the Middle Ages--Eve and the Virgin Mary. Whereas in Hebrew tradition wanen were property which reflected the good/evil of their owners (fathers/husbands}, in Christian tradition they are seducers--symbols of sin, whom Christ forgives. Islam, too, shares a gendered hierarchy of good and evil. The Qur 'an declares women's inferiority except in

PAGE 90

83 their superior sinfulness caused by a sexuality which they must hide rather than be the neans by which "pure" mm could sin. One Sura8, as quoted in Stone, says: Men have authority over wanen because God has made the one superior to the other and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. So good "WOOleil are obedient, guarding the unseen parts as God guarded them. (4: 31) The sexuality of mm, thus, translates into an index of their power and wealth; the sexuality of wcmm translates into a sin punishable by death. This patriarchy, then, is the order Mrrgerys tears and activities subvert. Though subversion is usually a term 'Which -we denote as upsetting or overthrowing an existing govermrent, Margery's language displays that element 'Which seeks to displace traditionally male m::x:Ies of representation with her female one. Done quietly on her O'Wil or within the devalued feminine institutions of the convents, such displacement might not be viewed as unusual; done loudly within the male-dominant social c:ommunity and distracting the male-ordered religious conmunity, Margery's activity must be considered subversive. That she was subversive in at least ten different ways-fran refusing the way of silence to performing miracles and to holding back fran mystical union-should, then, qualify her as an arch-subversive. 13efore exploring those subversions, though, we should give further attention to her chief neans of subversion-the tradition of Christian tears. The medieval audience would have been familiar with the Senoons on the M:>unt wherein Jesus explains his approach to tears and laughter. His third beatitude (after the poor and the hungry) is for those who cry: "Blest are you who are weeping; you shall laugh"

PAGE 91

84 (Luke 6: 21).9 He does not describe the extent of the weeping nor its social acceptance, but does accept it as a means for his blessing. Margery did not speak much about the goal of laughter which weeping brings except that upon her first audition of paradise she said, "It is ful nery in Hevyn" (11). laughter in the other world was a premise that she received. Heaven might be a place of laughter and rerryma.king, but this world was not. On occasion Margery was adloonished for laughter because it was not a holy custan. She was also much criticized for her crying, rostly because of its abundance and its loudness. St. Bernard's senoon, "On the Steps of Humility and Pride" (Bernard 99), well-received in English m::mastic coomunities, rebuked laughter and noise, so the criticism of her was within Church tradition, too. The Bible certainly shows little laughter, but various examples of tears are there. Luke's gospel shows Jesus in the hare of the Pharisee where a wanan known in the town to be a sinner stood behind him at his feet [Jesus was probably dining in the recumbent fashion], llleeping so that her tears fell upon his feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing than and perfuming them with oil. (Luke 7: 37-38) Her weeping did not appear to bother Jesus; in fact, he used her as an example of love and faith. It will not do, however, to equate the apparently quiet tears of the woman known to be a sinner with the tears of Margery Kempe. The sinner's weeping, for instance, was not continuous since she was able to dry his feet; nor, to be perhaps unduly realistic, was it loud, or Jesus would not have been heard telling the parable of gratitude. But we might equate the tradition of this sinner with Margery's difficulties. Folk tradition, despite Church protestations, identifies

PAGE 92

85 the sinner as Mary Magdelene. She inspired Christ's forgiveness, as when he said: I tell you that is why her many sins are forgiven-because of her great love. {Luke 8: 44-47) Mary Magdalene's human unions produced no known offspring, the cnl.y justification recognized by the Church, but her intercourse praootes forgiveness. '!he Virgin whose "being proclaims the greatness of the Lord" (Luke 1: 46), on the other hand, produces a child of divinity without sexual intercourse. This patriarchal Christian legacy to wcmen clearly deioonstrates the Madonna-whore syndram which is one 100re cause for tears. Either the -wanan keeps producing children for cnly one male without sullying herself by sexual intercourse, which makes her 11 good, 11 even divine; or she has no children and desires many nen, which makes her "bad" and in need of forgiveness frcm the divine male. By default, then, all waren are 11 bad 11 and need forgiveness. What is different about Margery in such cultural conditioning is that she does not seem to require forgiveness fran any man except the Christ in her head. we should not, however, equate Christ's thrice--nentioned tears in the gospels with Margery's tumultuous weeping any 100re than we identify her torrents with the sinner's quiet tears. Christ's approach was circumspect rather than profuse in the incidents of disillusion, death, and apprehension-the only identified scenes in the gospels of Christ weeping. For instance, in his messianic entry into Jerusalem, 11 Coming within sight of the city, he wept over it Lbecause JerusalemJ failed to recognize the tine of visitation" (Luke 19: 41-44). There may, however, be an unrecognized similarity in the cause

PAGE 93

86 for tears. Jesus's weeping, like Margery's, acknowledged the lack of faith, not only in Pharisees, but also among the Hebrews. Again, in discussing the "Raising of Lazarus," John's gospel does not indicate loudness but deep emotions: When Jesus saw her [Mary, sister of Lazarus] weeping, and the Jews who had accompanied her also weeping, he was troubled in spirit, noved by the deepest anotions. (John 11: 33) Jesus's empathy caused his sadness, but the Jews' tears were for the ironic situation which they perceived. In their estimation Jesus, the Christ who could have saved Lazarus, had not arrived in time to do so. Theirs was a logical assumption since Lazarus had been dead four days, but they lacked faith. such a demonstration revealed, then, a further reason for Jesus's tears was the Jews lack of faith. They were unable to conceive of a savior who could restore a nan who was dead and explained that "Jesus began to weep" because it was a measure of 11 'how much he loved him 1 (John 11: 35-36). It is not a question of how many tears are shed. It is a question of faith over logic, the same choice that St. Bernard had made choosing rhetoric instead of dialectic as an affective decision. Christ shed tears when he perceived the lack of faith. Margery Kempe recognized the choice and shed tears at what she perceived tote her own lack of faith and that lack in others. Just as tears express the mind's perceptions, they also express the physical pain felt by the body. Thus, the third instance of Christ's tears occurred on the M::lunt of Olives/Garden of Gethsemane (Mt/Mk) just prior to his Passion. This instance provides the now familiar iretaphoric grouping of "blood, sweat, and tears." From the

PAGE 94

87 body's pain, Christ's sweat of blood may be perceived as tears, which symbolically presage the blood and water that fell fran Christ's side during the crucifixion, and-lest -w forget-may be perceived as parallel to a wanans flux during childbirth, In his anguish he prayed with all the greater intensity, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. (Luke 22: 44) Christ's IOOI1tal "labor," perhaps even forelmowledge, produces physical pain. His sacrifice for love and of love takes tangible form, and as the delivery of death is imminent the pain m::,ves him to "tears." In Mathew's gospel, Jesus spoke frcm the garden: "My heart is nearly broken with sorrow" (26: 38). Similarly, in Mark's gospel, he told his disciples: "My heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death" (14: 34). 'lbe Synoptic Gospels expose aootional. anguish as mtive for Jesus's tears-a familiar reason. But John's gospel proposes the content of his prayers prior to arrest without any exposition of his physical or emotional state. The language presents these tears in terms of great physical suffering, but the question remains: were they the result of actual physical distress or the anticipaticn of it? The answer that emerges is that Christ's tears were co-optive, participating parts of the pain he was experiencing in his body-a pain that was far worse than any to be inflicted upon him. Like Jesus, Margery agonized by her foreknowledge of the damned, experienced the bodily pain that produced tears. Unlike Jesus, Margery's tears loudly demanded attention. But clearly, sign of grace as they may have been, the sound of tears did not appeal to nen of the D::!dieval Church. The sound of tears, related to actual physical suffering, offended them. 'lhe Church

PAGE 95

88 tradition of accepting tears as a sign of grace supposedly influenced Margery's second scribe to accept her crying himself, despite a Franciscan's preaching to the contrary. The scribe's attention had been dra'Wil to a precedent established by Jacques de Vitrys (1215) vita an Mary of Oignies which taught tolerance of weeping to a priest. Recently, Patricia Kurtz identifies this vita and ooe en Christine the Marvelous as "anti-heretical documents" meant to affirm behavior as orthodox which the cathars had discredited. In the vita a priest requested Mary of Oignies to leave the church because her loud crying disturbed his mss. We might acknowledge here that the Franciscan did the sane to Margery. There is no evidence, however, that Mary cried for twenty-five years or rore, as did Margery, nor evidence that she rolled and writhed in paroxySIIS of tears, as did Margery, despite the tears of anguish which accompanied her self-imposed starvation due to Christ's death, her sins, and those of others. She, too, cried "as a wanan in childbirth," but died singing ( 193). Kurtz also provides evidence of Mary using her wits and her prayers to foil derons in others, including the same priest who had excluded her. Afflicted with a single case of drenching tears during mass, this priest received an ironic lesson in canpassion. Christine, the Marvelous, an the other hand, had such strange experiences that crying could almOst be discounted by canparison. Thomas de cantimpre recorded what seems to be her near-death experience. During her funeral, witnesses described her "astonishing" flight about the rafters of the church. OUr own vision of msochism is raised to new heights when w consider scne of Christine's acts of

PAGE 96

89 penitential violence: baking herself in ovens and boiling herself in cauldrons, even hanging herself for "a day or two" (192). For all these reasons she experienced anguished crying "as a woman in childbirth" (189). It seans an interesting trope paralleled by lx>th Mary and Christine's male biographers that the wetness of tears which cover the ground is described in terms of the product of sexual intercourse-the breaking of water in childbirth. Their pathway to mystical union, was the way of 'WOOleil, as men who followed Bernard's conception descril:)ed that way in metaphoric terms. Margery Rempe, unlike the IIBle biographers, experienced the physical realities of childbirth. Married at about the age of twenty to John Kempe, Margery said that she gave birth to fourteen children by alx>ut the age of forty. Since lawful progeny is the Church-declared purpose of the procreative act and confirms the sanctity of motherhood, it seems odd that Margery referred to only one of her children-the first-in just the painful terminology of traumatic delivery. It is true that she mentioned the conversion of her married son and his subsequent death at her house later in the book, but there is a possibility that he was the same child generated in the opening pages of the book. In fact her first sentence told of the child's conception, and her second sentence delivered him: And aftyr pat sche had conceyued, sche was lalx>wrd wyth grett accessys tyl pe chylde was lx>rn, & pan, what for labowr sche had in chyldyng & for sekenesse goyng beforn, sche dyspered of hyr lyfe, wenyng sche mygth not leuyn. (6) Christ's appearance at her bed cured the postpartum illness she suffered for sane tine after this delivery. Nowhere else are her children mentioned. No-where else does she reveal her human IIDtherhood,

PAGE 97

90 though she does recount Christ informing her of the pregnancy of her fourteenth child and his pranise that the child would be her last. But if she had know that this traumatic initiation of her body would be repeated fourteen mre times, the racking tears of her later years, which "WOuld be her salvation, would have begun sooner than on Calvary c.1413 during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Why does Margery say nothing of her children? Perhaps pain like that can only be felt and not described. Certainly, it -was a Calvary that Bernard could only have observed. As he established God's activity of m:>thering, purity of doctrine flows from the preaching breasts of the Bride. His use of "maternal imagery for male figures" (Bynum God 138) appropriates a m:>ther's influence on children. But he can only write about motherhood; Margery experienced it. The later Middle Ages, though, present us with even mre canplexity as misogyny escalated and clerical roles were more firmly articulated as the ma.le dominion.10 In any case, Margery Kempe -was a singular individual, a human being finding her o'Wil way to God. She may have been fourteen times a :aother, but that identity was not the spiritual identity expressed in her autobiography. Margery gave birth to herself. We can see this, first of all, in the way she refers to herself. If naming is part of the creative process, we my well ask: to what extent does she give birth to herself? She begins her book by calling herself the creatur. We can, of course, accept this particular naming as just ooe of the quirks in a quirky book. But with our present-day knowledge, it seems a rather nonchalant sort of scholarship that stops short of exploring a

PAGE 98

91 self-assumed title. At face value, the word signifies an animal, which shows how debased she felt. The word choice might satisfy the male hierarchical requirement for humility (a too-convenient method of control). It might present the contrast between herself and the hero-figure of Christ. en the other hand, the word contains much larger implications. For instance, it also denotes anything which is created, so that the persona of Margery may be revealed by this word choice as a "creation." An interesting cultural offshoot fran the Latin is the Spanish word criar (to nurse). The creature is the handiwork of the creator and is both child and 100ther, nursing and nourishing. Bernard's full-breasted Bride is, thus, contained in Margery's epithet. Whether she sees herself as created by the society in which she lives, by the God fran whcm she distanced herself, or by her own imagination is left to the reader to decide. An etymological point of further interest is that "creature" derives from the feminine Late Latin creatura, as does "create." The other Late Latin word which means the sane as "create" is the masculine creator/ creatoris (OED). By selecting the creatur appellation, Margery Kempe initiated a division within the book-an implicit questioning of her role as creator of children and of language opposing the imposition of her role as created thing and as debased feminine animal. Given such opposition, it can be inferred that she subverted the male position of "creator" by creating her book from the inky flux of her male amanuenses. This birth Jretaphor might be continued through the breaking of her waters-the tears that persisted for 100re than twenty-five years. Margery's first act of subversion, then, was to call herself a creatur of God.

PAGE 99

92 '!he second act was vocalization. She would be heard at a time when nen preached, ordered, satirized, and castigated wanen in order to muzzle them and keep them subordinate. Hope Allen says that Margery, together with Julian of Norwich, broke "a long tradition of feminine silence in England" (Meech & Allen, lxii). This point cannot be emphasized enough. Her voice-wanans voice-pierced the mystical tradition of silence, echoed through the cloistered Cistercian walls, and was taken up by other wcmen. It was only after Mirgery and Julian that the affective tradition was widely translated into a literary vision for wanen's mystical experiences. 'Ihe difference between these two wanen, though, is approach. Margery was loud. She was obnoxious to the system and would be obnoxious to :aodern sensibilities. Julian, who followed the mre conventional path of becoming an anchoress, presented a quiet, m::>re acceptable form of mysticism. On the back cover of Julian's Revelations of Divine love (Image, 1977), for instance, a IOOdern advertiser informs us that Julian was "no would-be visionary, but a responsible, serious wanan. 11 '!he "would-be visionary" must have been Margery, who was Julian's contemporary and as unlike Julian as another woman could be. '!he noisy, vocal Margery's seriousness was questioned, and she was charged with "irresponsibility" by various clerics of her day. She emphasized the second stage of mysticism, illumination, wherein the soul-Aquinas identifies as mind--participates in visions, sounds, or spiritual colloquies. Though Julian, too, experienced visions or "showings," she emphasized mystical union--the goal of all contemplative experience and one bereft of sensuality, and, one assumes, overt-and

PAGE 100

93 audible--evidence that union had been acccmplished. Margery, the subversive, refused the role of silence. What was really loud about Margery was her crying. Her tears were the crux of the problem for her, for her contemporaries, for her readers. Though she identified her "crying" stage as lasting ten years, her weeping life totaled about twenty-five years and went through several stages: profuseness, loud crying and uncontrollable paroxysms, and gentle tears. The profuse weeping started during the three years of sexual temptationll which followed her first audition of heavenly music, probably between 1407 and 1410. This dating is enabled because Margery's two J::usiness ventures--brewing and milling--were concluded before the audition.12 The "crying" stage, with its attendant birthing throes, as previously mentioned started on calvary c.1413: Fyrst 'Whan sche had hir cryingys at Ierusalem, sche had han oftyntymes, & in Rooe also.&, 'Whan sche cooe han in-to Inglonde as God wolde visiten hir, sumtyme in pe cherch, sumtyme in strete, sumtyme in pe chawibre, sumtyme in pe felde 'Whan God wold sendyn hem, for sche Jmew neuyr tyme ne owyr whan pei xulde come. & pei cone neuyr wyth-owtyn passyng gret swetnesse of deuocyon & hey contemplacyon. (69) The quiet tears came later in her life and continued, presumably, until her death c.1439. It is possible, therefore, to posit between twenty-five and thirty-two years of penitential weeping to Margery. Margery herself, dictating to her scribes, tells how her weeping disturbed the masses given at St. Margaret's Church in Lynn. She described how the congregation becane disgusted by her loud interruptions and urged the priests to eject her from the Church. For

PAGE 101

94 the most part, the clergy would not do that, believing that her tears came from God. She tried not to cry, but that nade natters even worse: &, as sone as sche parceyvyed ~at sche xulde cry, sche wolde kepyn it in as mech as sche myth '?2t pepyl xulde not an herd it for noyng of hem. For SlmlIIW seyd it was a wikkyd spiryt vexid hir; sum seyd it was a sekeness; sum seyd sche had dronkyn to mech wyn; sum bannyd hir; sum wisshed sche had ben in pe hauyn; sum wolde sche had ben in pe bottomless boyt; and so ich man as hym thowte. (69) She was very aware of the various reactions to her crying--reactions mirrored by today's critics--even though if they took the Scripture and Bernard's explication into account, they might see through the tears the dronkyn label as reminiscent of the Song's bride. But visiting monks of her day were less indulgent than the clergy. When the Order of Grey Friars sent a particularly famed preaching monk to Lynn, Margery's problems increased. He told her to leave the church. When the priests prevailed on him to let her stay, he preached against her as if she were a hypocrite with a need for attention. His preaching turned the confused congregation against her and even affected her own confessor's judgment of her. But the nonk's crowning achievement was in causing her to be removed fran the church during public mass, allowing her only to attend the private nasses. She endured all until Christ commanded her to return to public worship so that the gift of tears she experienced could be seen and heard by others. Thus, through her intercession, she believed, Christ received attention. Even powerful preachers felt bound to commands from Christ, and she was allowed to return. Margery's crying tests the professed Christianity of all her audience. If we see Christ's admonition to "Love thy neighbor" as her

PAGE 102

95 "orthodox" message, we realize that it was no mre net by those who felt she was possessed by wicked spirits than by those who banned her fran the mass. But for readers of our tine her sekenes leads inevitably to the question of hysteria. Conditioned by Freud's studies as we have been, we must ask if this wanan who clearly acts outside the prescribed IOC>des of behavior is responding to her own inner convictions. Or do we see, in Margery's ow words, her choices of chastity, fasting, traveling, the actions of a "hysterical wanan 11 ? The question of "hysterical behavior" enters into a good many discussions of Margery Kempe's third subversion: her refusal to play her proper role in conjugal relations. Views of female emotions span sexual manifestations fran nenstruation, intercourse, pregnancy, and nenopause. The sexism attached to the word "hysteric" has a long history, still in use, for demeaning and explaining the behavior of many wanen. We might recall Plato's marvelous constructs of perfect love, as applied by nen to other nen, to judge the inferiority of women through Western culture's IIBle eyes.13 We know that the Greeks used the term "hysteric" because of its etymology (hustera is Gk. for womb), and we know that they considered 'WOlllen ooth socially inferior--they were not counted as citizens--and sexually inferior. Aristotle saw their nenstrual flow as lacking heat, and his heat-is-strength principle demonstrated that male semen was a superior concoction of white-hot spiritual purity.14 '!hat semen, as Plato described it, contained all the necessary ingredients to produce offspring and required only the restless animal wanb of the wanan to provide the human child with breeding space. Thanas Aquinas saw the

PAGE 103

96 mother's passive material acted upon by the spiritual and speedy seminal power of the male (I.98.2). Albertus M:ignus (1206-1280) showed the male giving "formative virtue" to the female seed. Allesandro Benedetti (1450?-1512) allowed spiritual life to C'OID.e fran both parents but did attribute the more ignoble aims as coming fran the female.15 Of course, we should not forget the master of the libido theory, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), whose belief that hysterical women suffered penis-envy, based an male castration fears, remains with us today in the sexual therapy sone of today's psychiatrists feel necessary for women patients.16 Fran her "inferior" position, her enforced passivity, to her restless animal cravings, and her deep-seated envy, hysteria has long been credited for the "irrationality" that causes a woman to spurn a man, wedded or not. Many may be the causes which affect the individual -woman's behavior, yet until our modem day few have suggested patriarchal domination as the cause of the at10tional rejection termed "hysteria." Mary Sherfey MD, though, says that it took: Five thousand years or longer for the subjugation of waren to take place. All relevant data fran the 12,000 to 8,000 B.C. period indicate that precivilized women enjoyed full sexual freeom. (151) With oonotheism came singular male power. Recalling M:irgery's claim as creatur, we know that to be creator is to have/be power. We must be aware that for rrore than two thousand years the Western male has been unable to share power with the female. But the possibility exists that gynocentric societies, too, were unable to share power between the sexes and were the models on which our current repressive culture was based.17 The question remains unanswered due to the almost total

PAGE 104

97 obliteration of evidence of the female-ruled societies and feminine theophanies that existed for mre than 7,000 years and were recorded for destruction in the Hebrew Bible {Stone 186-89). Thus, in order to replace the repugnant idea of feminine strength, the word "hysteria" emphasized feminine wealmess. So, -we have this term used by a patriarchal society to explain a wanans non-male norm of behavior according to the operation of her uterus. The discussions surrounding Mlrgerys ''hysteria" are numerous. Certainly, they offer persuasive biological and phenooenological evidence that might explain our perception of her marriage subversion and her fanatic religious behavior. If as SiIOOne de Beauvoir and others say, ItEilOpause fakes a resurrection of a wanan's life and might easily lead her to religion (580-1), then approximately one half of the population lIDlSt nove through this "fake resurrection" before death occurs. Though De Beauvoir was not referring to Margery, this description of the older wanan has :nany similarities to her: But her dreams are peopled with erotic phantoms, which she also calls up in hours of wakefulness; she displays a feverish and sensUal affection toward her children; she entertains incestuous obsession concerning her son; she falls secretly in love with one young man after another; like the adolescent girl, she is haunted by notions of being raped; she knows also the mad desire for prostitution. (579) The foregoing ItEnopausal scenario is a rhetorical masterpiece. It contains no other view than the author's, has no data, uses no logic. Its sole ireans of persuasion is the tradition of debasement. If woman's lot in a man's world is difficult, this rhetoric cries aloud the abysmal situation "Which the older wanan faces. Why is she treated in such a deprecating manner? Assuming there is such a woman's disease

PAGE 105

98 as hysteria, though formulated by men on the basis of m:m's needs and with men's data, does belief in its sexual basis nean that we should dismiss as unimportant or ridiculous what that wanan says/does? consider our m::>dern critics. George 'l\nna says: ''Most [critics] would also agree that she [Margery] was hysterical and undoubtedly mentally unbalanced" (43). H. Thurston S.J. wrote: "That Margery was a victim of hysteria can hardly be open to doubt" and "hysteria is before anything else a mental disease consisting chiefly in an exaggeration of suggestibility" (as quoted in Meech & Allen, lxv). Her sekenes is m:>st conveniently labeled under the Freudian and Platonic patriarchal tradition of wanb hunger. such a label co-opts serious discussion of Margery's contribution and may easily prevent discovery of what Hope Allen avers, "Margery's originality seeIIS to me indisputable I do not believe that Margery's book can be explained, as I first thought, as merely the naive outburst of an illiterate wanan" (lvii). Though Nancy Partner also sees Margery as an hysteric, she does mention a "disparity between her heterodox personal style and her orthodox religious massage." can we assume that the "orthodox" message is "Love thy neighbour"? Or might the message be: see how this wanan anbraces shame; it is your own? Behavior that lacks orthodoxy provokes the shaming work of the tenn "hysteria." Our culture so labels any older wanan who is different. The shame is ours. Am:>ng various definitions, "orthodox" means: l.a. holding correct or currently accepted opinions, esp. an religious doctrine, m:>rals. b. not independent-minded; unoriginal; unheretical. 2. generally accepted as right or true; authoritatively established; conventional (OED).

PAGE 106

99 Margery's behavior was always criticized as unconventional, independent, and original. Her orthodoxy-though tried for heresy several timesl8 during the fourteenth century and found acceptable on the basis of her frequent camnunion and confession and her catechetical knowledge-might well be re-examined via the forthrightness of her book. Was it orthodox for a wanan to challenge traditional behavior? Was it orthodox to go without meat? to live celibately with one's husband? to contravene the express wishes of bishops? to wear only white after being married? to preach? to tell the future? to tell another his sins? to go unaccanpanied on pilgrimages? to tell one's life story? All are Margery's feats, and sane are even "unorthodox" today. Certainly, her demands for personal freed.an, her subversion in this respect, can be seen, once again, in direct opposition to the actions of Julian of Norwich, who willingly attached herself to an order of the church. Steven Ozment writes that "In the medieval spiritual traditions the line between heresy and orthodoxy couJ.d be exceedingly fine, especially at the inception of a heresy." In Heresy in the Later Middle Ages, Gordon I.eff identifies the test as whether the individual or group submits to the Church's doctrinal authority {Ozment,94). Fran the Greek word for "choice," heresy called for withdrawal fran the fellowship of the Church in order to follow a dogma {Pelikan, 1978:17). In her "orthodox sekenes" Margery displayed unorthodox defiance tine after time to Church authorities, except when she was in danger of burning at her heresy trials. Trapped in sexually tuned bodies, objectified in the legal prostitution of marriage, abased as

PAGE 107

100 the origin of man's evil (mercantile wives were much JOOre associated with the role of Eve than that of the Virgin in Church dramas), ncst other Medieval waoon tumed their eyes to the ground like the creatures of burden they had been made. But Margery found the neans to escape within herself and within the very origins of the society which encanpassed her. Sul:lnitting only to the authority of Olrists love and, happily, confirmed by the Church, her tears, hysterical manifestations or not, J::ecane her cry for independence. Her first official step of independence enabled her to escape from the requirement, or one of the requirements, of conjugal relations. Her husband, believing that he woUld die if he were to touch her again after she revealed Christ's desire for her chastity, agreed to her bargain on June 23, 1413: she woUld pay all his debts, give up her Friday fast, and keep him jolly canpany at the neal; and he would consent to sexual abstinence.19 'Ihus, with Jesus at her side, Margery found in chastity the means to escape the carnal requirements of her marriage. If we recall st. Bernard's passionate evocation of the intoxicated sensual Bride of Christ, we must also aclmowledge his simultaneous rhetorical devaluation of the carnal body and advocacy of the superiority of chastity. Within this male metaphorical schism, Margery found release. She appropriated the JOOnastic, patriarchal metaphor of chastity to pursue her own activities instead of the nale dicta. She escaped St. PaUl's reccmmendation of spousal obligation (lCor.), interpreted by cardinal Hostiensis (13th.c. canonist of Henry of SUsa) as mandatory intercourse on demand,20 and she escaped the mral sin verdict

PAGE 108

101 attached to sexual intercourse unless for procreation. Thus she defied a double bind imposed by :aale-established precedent. By making her bargain with her husband, Margery challenged a right that had long been established and supported by physical power. en the subject of rape following wars, Eva Feder Kittay says: "If the sexual exchange of wanen marks the bond between :nen, the victor's sexual 'expropriation' solidifies a conquest" (75). Margery took herself out of the war; she "expropriated" herself. '!be remaining patriarchal confusion exists in terms of her own time and in terms of her account of her own experience partly because we focus too closely on her prior roles as an erotic object, as a procreative object, as an economic object, and in her refusal to continue such roles on those terms. What Margery Kempe refused to do was see herself as others insisted on seeing her. Her victory came in the transfer of those roles in m::>nastic terms. Leading a celibate life, she performed erotically only in her mind; she procreated only by converting others to Christ; and she alone dictated her economic arrange:nents by travelling and living independently. Though Philip Repyngdon, Bishop of Lincoln (1405-1419) resisted giving formal Church sanction to Margery and Jolm Kempe's "bargain," Margery later invoked Christ's authority and that of the Archbishop of canterbury to get her way, and she did not miss the opportunity to give the bishop a warning that he was mre afraid of worldly embarrassment than not loving God. According to her book, she received official Church recognition of her chaste marriage to Christ-the result of the bargain with her husband--by February 19, 1414.21 '!be

PAGE 109

102 fact that no nention of Margery exists in the Bishop's Register cannot be taken as evidence that she failed to win her battle with the bishop. The emission, however, may be taken as evidence that this member of the patriarchal establishment did not choose to acknowledge the existence of a subversive who succeeded. The Book That Margery's own erotic language upset the patriarchal system can be determined by the response to her book. A carthusian mnastery kept it in isolation for many years, and it was not discovered until 1934 in the Butler-Bowden private library. In Wynkyn de 'lt>rde's edition (reproduced in Meech & Allen, 353-357) fran the print of Henry Pepwell (1521), a series of Christ's IOOI1ologues and revelations about Margery's weeping were maintained as a contemporaneous extract form of her book. But none of her sexual visions are recorded. re l'K>rde's closest connection to one is her reference to being laid naked on a hurdle: She sayd good lorde I wolde be layde naked vpon an hurdel for thy loue al nen to wonder on me & to cast fylth & dyrt on 100. (356) If Margery succeeded in escaping the role set dmm for a proper medieval wife, she, at the same time, expressed-in clearly erotic language-the role nen could play as tanpters. One of her sexual visions demonstrates her inversion of the medieval monastic sexual temptation of a parade of women; Margery's temptation is a parade of men. This vision, which Wynkyn re Worde does not narrate, is mst graphic:

PAGE 110

103 Dyuers ren of religyon, preysts, & many~' bothyn hethyn & cristen schewen her bar membrys vn-to hir. & ache must be canown to hen alle. & hir thowt pat pea horrybyl syghtys & cursyd rendys wer delectabyl to hir a-geyn hir wille. (145) This particular vision resulted fran her suspicions about the source of her foreknowledge of those who were damned. She attributed such knowledge to the devil because she disliked it; then she saw this visicn as punislment for her incorrect judgement. It would seen logical that suspicion of a male God should transfer to suspicion of his representatives, but Margery always felt guilt for sexual feelings which her cultural conditioning named "lechery." Popular fabliaux of the period may have underlined her dilemna by showing "peasants' or burghers' wives as irrepressibly adulterous, lustful, and treacherous, tirelessly deceiving their husbands," says Gies, "with priests, students, and apprentices, and nearly always getting away with it" (42). But what of "lechery" itself? Is there any reason to see the word as a male or female attribute? '!he Middle English word cones fran the French male metaphor for "excessive" sexual activity. Its furthest et}'JIIOlogy caxes fran the Frankish word likkon (unattested). 'l'b the Hebrews "to testify"-the positive form of likkon-meant swearing to the truth by touching the testes, which were believed to be the sole human origin of life. So, by a circuitous route, we can acknowledge "lechery" as a male appellation for excessive sexual activity not purposed for procreation. This, of course, does not make the word one which relates exclusively to nale behavior, though control of its use seems to be in male hands. For women of middle age (Margery's tearful age ranged in the book fran 40 to 65) there is some documentation of a lack of sexual

PAGE 111

104 inhibition. Simne de Beauvoir felt that such a lack is a form of repayment to wcmen who at earlier ages may have "deprived" their mates. However, if we note the subversion which identifies nen as tempters, we may also note the older wanan's desire to give way to the temptation and, by doing so, reversing the roles of hunter and prey. such a subversion of male sexual dominance is difficult for a patriarchal culture to countenance, and may even affect the reasoning behind research and nedical practice toward 'WOIIEil. M:xiem dependency on estrogen supplements for the older women might be questioned more in light of sexual control. Ioctors feel that the lack of sexual inhibition in wcmen like Margery Kempe is due to hormonal imbalance. Accidentally, today's doctor-encouraged estrogen supplement promotes female docility,2 2 yet this aspect receives little attention from a public desiring female canpliance with its patriarchal traditions. Margery's behavior exhibited little a:mpliance, and she undoubtedly portrayed herself as lacking sexual inhibition by her very open visual revelations. such behavior, then as now, results in the lechery label--a convenient debasement of older persons sexuality. It is rarely applied to young people, even when the definition fits. '!hey merely have "raging hormones." In the case of lx>ys, we are still told "Boys will be boys." More than sixty years old when she started it, Kirgerys production of her book denied her sterility, but not~ Beauvoir's charge of "magic conjuration." I.M. Lewis combines both ideas when he describes infertility as a "spur" women experience to involve themselves as "shamans" or spiritual contractors. 'lhough not

PAGE 112

105 unreasonable by itself, this statement becomes untenable with Lewis' next few sentences. He describes shamans as "women past the rrenopause, or their barren younger sisters," unhappy married women or women who have been happily married, and "mothers" (85). It seems obvious that Lewis has included most women via his description of their sexual stages. Margery thwarted the rrale establishments in ooth the fourteenth and twentieth centuries. Subversive to the patriarchal, gendered hierarchy, Margery undertook her own examination of a mature woman's ecstatic encounters. Thus far, we have inspected three of M:lrgery's subversive ways: naming, vocalization, and sexual liberation. By identifying herself as creatur, she acknowledged the beastly role in which Western Christian culture placed her while simultaneously asserting her own divinity as creator. By refusing the way of silence relegated to women at the mass, she asserted her English voice. By requiring a chaste relationship from her husband, she denied the male requirement of her body for breeding, and by converting the Eve metaphor of temptation from women to rren, she asserted her right to sexual feelings. Of course, various "respectable" women had escaped marital bonds before and during Margery's time, though rare are their sexual confessions so public, and we have already noticed that Margery was not the only female ecstatic mystic of the Middle Ages. Margery's uniqueness lay not only in her weeping and outspoken language, but also in her refusal to become incorporated within or attached to other stifling institutions.23 She would not become an anchoress, living in a hut attached to a church like Julian of

PAGE 113

106 Norwich. She would not join a convent of nuns like those of Helfta, Germany. She would not join the feminine ccmnunities known as Beguines. Instead, she lived and travelled at the whim of the Jesus within her head. She forced her ~iety to hear her, to look at her, and to deal with her on her own tern:s and only incidentally through the nediation of a man. Part of her uniqueness, too, can be attributed to her "clothys of whyte," which gained her much attention. Traditionally, white is worn by the bride to identify virginity's value in our culture. It is the color of the priest's alb worn when celebrating mass. It was also the distinguishing robe color of St. Bernard's order, the Cistercians, as part of their reformed Benedictine image. Pope Gregory IX allowed white to be worn by the Order of Saint Mary Magdeline, those nuns composed of the reclaimed prostitutes of the West.24 It is the color of martyrdan and holiness. Furthenoore, Eric Colledge recently describes a royal proclamation issued in 1399 warning the English of a European sect "dressed in white robes and claiming for themselves great sanctity" (22). With these associations, Margery and her society would have been familiar. Hope Allen says, "Margery seems to re likely to have taken her white clothing as an individual expression in some way of her mystical experience" (273). Whether true or not, her white clothing was regarded by her contemporaries with suspicion. Frequently, she was asked how she had a right to it if she was married, but she countered that Jesus com:nanded it. Wearing white called attention to her, identified her intimate connection with Christ, and subverted the clothing rights of the religious.

PAGE 114

107 How much her clothing upset her contanporaries can be deduced fran their actions during her pilgrimage to Rome. '!hey cut her dress off at the knees and put a white cone an her head so that she would be a figure of ridicule. Of course, it was not just her white wool clothes, but also her crying, her fasting, and her preaching that upset them. The fact that she often traveled without her husband broke the patriarchal code of ownership and protection, and they must have considered her fair game. A priest to whcm she confessed among the group forced her to break her fast, to eat JEat and drink wine. The group forced her to eat apart fran their company. SUch were the JEthods they tried to bring this wanan under control. Margery would have none of it. It was not beyond her ken to side-step the various confessors who did not match her beliefs. She went to the Papal legate who not only released her from the confessor's injunction, but also lectured the company: Nay, serys, I wyl no don hir styn flesch whyl sch.e nay absteyne hir & ben pe bettyr disposyd to louyn owyr Lord. (64) For Margery, abstinence from :neat emphasized her subsistence an the body and blood of Christ in the mass. It was he who fed her body and her mind, and he who authorized her subversion of temporal authority. SUbverting the dicta against travelling alone an pilgrimages, Margery's conversation with Christ authorized her to circumvent her confessor's injunction. After Margery's husband and san had both died, the approximately sixty-five year-old Margery wanted to accompany her daughter-in-law back to Gennany and engaged her spiritual canpanion-Jesus-in a dialogue. He told her, scmewhat ambiguously, not to speak to her confessor regarding such thoughts. For scme reason

PAGE 115

108 she did mantion to her confessor that she would accanpany her daughter-in-law to the port at Ipswich and see her safely anbarked, but the confessor answered "ze am an elde wcman. 2'e may not gon" (226). Resourcefully, Margery engaged a hermit as escort and did receive permission to travel to Ipswich. However, as we might expect, Jesus conmanded her to make the voyage, and Margery followed his dictates despite her confessor's achoonition. Upon her return to England, Margery encountered Reynald, the hermit she had originally paid to accanpany her to Ipswich. He vented a fair aIOOunt of male displeasure concerning her activities: I do zow we1 to wetyn zowr confessowr hath forsakyn zow for ze wentyn ouyr pe see 6c wolde telle hym no word pereof. 2'e toke leue to brynge zowr dowtyr to pe see-syde; ze askyd no leue no ferper. (247) As Reynald predicted, her confessor was angry, but her 100llifying explanation IIDlSt have included her obeying the Jesus in herself rather than in the priest. To present another example of subversions 5 and 6 when she was at an earlier stage in her life at the shrine of St. William's in York, a doctor of divinity charged her with travelling without her husband's permission. He demanded to see her letter recording such permission. She answered: Why fare ze -wyth ne rror pan ze don -wyth oper pilgri.mys ~at ben her, wheche ban no lettyr no mar pan I haue? (122) such disregard of authority got Margery into m::>re trouble. Because even though she showed herself well versed with the Articles of Faith, the doctor of divinity remanded her over to trial by the Archbishop of York. She was accused of I.ollardy, a conscience-governed group led by

PAGE 116

109 John Lollard, a word that cane to be associated with the acts which had no faith in the sacraments, relics, or pilgrimages; she was berated for wearing white and for weeping; and the Archbishop of York told her that he had heard she was a very evil wanan. reply was not only that he would one day wish that he had wept as much as she, but also that he would never get to heaven if he were as wicked as people told her. On another occasion she was accused of preaching, in direct opposition to St. Paul's mandate (lCor: 14). She countered with two Christian rhetorical tactics-a gospel reminiscence and a parable. The first reminded them that the gospel authorized her when it recorded a woman's response to Jesus: 'Blyssed be pe wanbe ~t pe bar & tetys pat zaf pe sowkyn. I preche not, ser. I cam in no pulpytt. I vse but caoownycacyon & good wordys, & pat wil I do whil I leue. (126) Her defiance in speech is mst obvious there, but the story which followed it has no equal among women of the time unless we consider Chaucer's wife of Bath as a portrait of a living person. Margery's parable described a priest resting beneath a tree among many beautiful flowers. A bear arrived, ate the flowers, then turnyng hys tayl-ende in pe prestys presens, voydyd hem owt agen at pe hyndyr (hymr) party. (126) Inquiring of an aged palmer, who turned out to be God's messenger, what the vision maant, the priest was told that his ministry and sacramental function was symbolized by the flowers, but the bear symbolized the priest's own sins of gluttony, avarice, lechery, dereit, and various other excesses "Which destroyed the blocms of virtue and presaged his endless damnation unless he repented (127).

PAGE 117

110 Though the clerk immediately recognized the diatribe, amazingly, the Archbishop liked the tale. On another occasion during a pilgrimage to Rome, Margery was hosteled with her traveling companions at a ioonastery. One of the ioonks took an instant dislike to her, but later he came upon her in church and asked her to find out fran God which of his sins were most displeasing. This led Margery, whose pilgrimage was in itself an act of subversion, to yet another willful appropriation of a prerogative denied to women. She heard a ioonk's confession. She recognized the monk's test when he told her that he would not believe in her unless she could tell him his sins. Her response indicated that if she could cry for him, she would bring him grace. While he was at mass, Margery talked him over with Christ, who told her that the IOOnk's sins included lechery with wives, despair, and worldly goods. When the monk returned, Margery informed him that Christ desired him to give up his outside office and confess the sins she named. He was so impressed that he gave her gold to pray for him. Now, that scene distinctly parallels the medieval 100nastic confession, as well as echoing Christ's visit with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). Margery and the 100nk spoke in the church. She wept living water as penance for him. She told him his sins, and he believed in her. She advised his reparation. He gave her alms for prayers. The subversion of the sacramental office is that she is his mediator, not the other way around. It would have been appropriate for a 100nk/priest hearing confession to whip himself for the sins of the penitent, streaming rivers of blood for such sins. Margery's tears

PAGE 118

111 appropriated that service. Her report that he followed her advice, becoming a much-beloved and sought-after holy llBil displays the effect of her absolution. we have now examined four mre ways of Margery's subversion. By refusing to attach herself to a religious order or to follow the example of the anchoress Julian of Norwich, Margery asserted an independence not condoned by Church or society. By traveling alone on pilgrimages, she nay have ostensibly refuted the charge of Lollardy, but sbe did so at the expense of inciting the ire and scandal of others. By adhering to the direct injunctions of her personal Christ, she thwarted the Church-required obedience due confessors and bishops in charge of her soul. By mediating the sins of the m::>nk with Christ, Margery performed a sacramental office reserved solely to the priest. An eighth means by 'Which Ma.rgery subverts Church hierarchy is by performing miracles and describing them in a plain style. We must be aware that Margery was never ncminated for canonization, though the Cistercians who had left their marks in the margins of her book were well aware of ber mysticism. Documentation of miracles is one of the requirements for such canonization. There are no shortages of spectacular miracles in medieval hagiography, particularly to those women of noble birth, and especially those in convents who had maintained their virginity. As we know, Margery did not seem to fit into these characteristics of a saint. She did, however, perform two miracles that seem verifiable in the town of Lynn. The first happened while Margery was in church. The second concerned a church fire. Early in the book, Margery described praying for God's deliverance frcm her husband's sexual demands. God told her it would

PAGE 119

112 happen on Whitsun Day (the feast of Pentecost). But it was on the eve of that day that a "miracle" occurred: as pis creatur was in a cherch of Seynt Margarete at N. heryng hir Masse, sche herd a gret noyse & a dredful SOdeynly fel down fran heyest party of pe cherch-vowte fro vndyr fote of pe sparre en hir bed & on hir bakke a ston whech weyd iij po'WI1d & a schort ende of a tre weyng vj pownd pat hir thowt hir bakke brakke a-sundyr, and sche ferd as sche had be deed a lytyl whyle. (21) After this three pound stone and the six pound beam end fell on her head and back, she asked Christ's mercy, and then the pain disappeared. The white friar, Master Aleyn, weighed both items and told her that it was a miracle. She and Master Aleyn translated the event into a display of God's mercy, but others saw it as a mark of God's vengeance and a token of his wrath toward Margery. The second miracle, already nentioned, dealt with saving the town. The occasion was during the great fire of Lynn in which the Guildhall burned. Margery saw the town's danger and wept all day, crying out loudly for mercy on the people. Rather than telling her to stop, the people begged her to continue crying and trusted that Margery's tears would safeguard than. Interestingly, her confessor came to her for advice, wondering if he should carry the host to the fire. By such an action he repeats a tradition of relying on the host in the face of adversity, but by asking M:lrgery for advice his insecurity in spiritual matters becomes obvious. Margery told him that Christ agreed to that action and promised all would be well. While praying and crying am:>ng the sparks inside the church, Margery was told of the arrival of a snowstorm that quenched the fire. Though her

PAGE 120

113 confessor believed her prayers had brought the miracle, the to'WilSpeople, she said, returned to slandering her. These miracles, along with other individual healings, show Margery's unflinching faith in the confabulations she enjoyed with her Lord. They do not demonstrate any particular courageous activity on her part, nor any fabulous feats such as roasting in ovens or flying around church rafters like Christine the Marvelous. But they do demonstrate Margery's compassion and her independent strength. 'lhey do indicate the respect and credence which sc:m3 of the clergy credited her. Her qualities, though, seem at odds with society's view of what a saint should be and must have posed a challenge to the Christian faith. Touching Christ and marriage with God, the last two ways in which Margery subverts the patriarchal traditions of the medieval church society, could be considered blasphemous. During the medieval period, only the male priests could touch the consecrated host. Public touching was the province of men and, particularly the province of men upon whan the right to touch the host was ordained by the Church. Margery's visions present the private touching province of wcmen-the nursery and the bed. Her tenth subversion converts the yearning, speaking Christ-bride of Bernard's sermons to a reluctant, speechless spouse of the Father in the mystical marriage. During contemplation a subject occasionally beccmes entranced by the mind's activity. Margery described it as a maner of slep. In a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, Margery experienced such a sleep and dream:d that the Virgin handed her a white kerchief together with the

PAGE 121

114 infant Jesus. Margery swaddled him first with her kerchief, then with her 11 bittyr teerys of canpassyon 11 (19). Wherever she saw infant boys after this visionary drama, she broke into tears. Presumably, this mother imagery net with her confessor's hearty approval. But Margery did not reveal all her visions to confessors. In one particularly vivid scene, Margery's "hanely" language described the vision of Christ in his manhood when her fingers curled about his toes: An oper-tyne, pe seyd creatur beyng in a chapel of owr Lady sor wpying in~ mynde of owr I.ordys Passyan sodeynly sche was in a man.er of slep. & a-non in pe syght of hir sowle sche sey owr Lord standyng ryght up onyr hir so ner ~t hir thowt sche toke hys toes in hir hand & felt ban, & to hir felyng it weryn as it had ben very flesch & bon. (208) Recalling St. Bernard's urging that the penitent should kiss both of God's feet, Margery's touching fits that tradition. Yet Riehle believes this scene demonstrates a disturbance within the book and proves Margery is "no longer capable of separating the sensual from the spiritual 11 ( 11) We might be aware, though, that from another perspective, Riehle, without quite understanding what he has done, has discovered the book's essential duality. 'lhe eroticism of the above scene is illustrated by Margery's position. Since her usual form of neditation is lying dmm, whether in the choir stalls, an the ground, or in her bed, her recumbency allows Christ to stand over her. Their two bodies form a cross of vertical and horizontal planes. 'lhe male-daninant locus appears traditional unless we also notice how the sacrament of holy orders is conferred. Men lie prostrate before the altar. Thus, sane readers may read Margery as appropriating the male domain of the priesthood; whereas others nay read the nen as

PAGE 122

115 appropriating the female posture of sull:nission. There is another way, though, to read this position within our Western eulture. We can see that both sul:mission of the female and sul:mission of the priest are fonns of desire. This would lead to perception of Margery's :aeditative position as a juxtaposition of her calling to that of the male Church hierarchy. It would :aean that she has sanehow mde herself equal to an establislmalt which, throughout her life, calls her to account. Thus, the position, for her, contains a dichotaoy of power and sul:mission. It is, of course, dangerous to attempt to analyze the unexpressed thought that lies behind the expression of critical views, but Riehle's dislike for the admixture of sensual. with spiritual. may really proceed from a dislike for pictures of wcmen "touching." 'Ibis male tradition has scme reference in the Christian Bible when Jesus admonishes Mary Magdalene. Fittingly, Margery's book repeats that scene, but with a difference. The scene shows Margery's anxiety mirroring the saint's as both WOIIEil want to kiss Christ's feet-an action St. Bernard identifies as the first stage in contemplation and the place where he, too, alludes to Mary Magdelene. Margery's vision occurs following the resurrection when Christ names "Mary" and, in doing so, reveals himself: And wyth pat word sche, knowyng owr Lord, fel down at hys feet & wolde a kyssyd hys feet, seying, 'Maistyr. OWr Lord seyd to hir, 'Towche :ae not. (197) Immediately after this vision, Margery experiences the same feelings and reactions as if she were Mary Magdalene: iat was whan sche [Margery] wolde a kissyd hys feet, & he seyd, 'Towche :ae not.' '!he creatur had so gret swem 6c heuynes in pat worde sche wept, sorwyd, 6c cryid as sche xulde a deyd for lofe 6c desir pat sche had to ben wyth ow Lord. ( 197)

PAGE 123

116 '111ough the book show Margery's love for Christ to be patterned after that of the saint whan we are told is the patron of -weepers and may be a form of Margery's rivalry, this does not seem to be the way she herself identifies with Mary Magdalene. Margery sees herself in terms of a shared sin-that of lechery. What a wanan who has long been called a sinner sees as sin, however, may instead be seen as a sign of grace. The fact that Margery's lechery is in the desire for sexual union shoUld, if -we remember the senoons of Bernard, make us think of her desire for mystical union-the third stage of mysticism. She is described, if we take her seriously at all, as an 11 illuminative 11 mystic--one who has visions and/or auditions. ~st students of mysticism do not place her in the third stage, even though she describes such union in quite literal terms, and I woUld agree by adding a suggestion that Margery experiences Christological union, as she envisions the body of Christ. In sane ways her use of the mystical marriage trope continues Bernard's rhetorical tradition, but in sare rather radical ways it subverts that tradition. From both cataphatic and apophatic traditions, mst prevalent in "mystical union" is God's visitation into the individUal soUl. One example of such a union, caning fran the cataphatic mystical school (positive steps of a soUl's progress toward God), is St. Augustine's, who reveals that his "mind in the flash of a trembling glance came to Absolute Being--'111at 'Which Is" (Confessions, VII). It was not that Augustine saw God, or heard his voice. He was simply and suddenJ.y aware of God's existence. The piercing lightning "flash" of Augustine

PAGE 124

117 becores the containing presence of the unfathanable cloud of God described by the the anonyioous Middle English author of 'Ihe Cloud of Unknowtng fran too apophatic school (negative stripping off sin to get to God): This darkness and this cloud is, however thou dost, betwixt thee and thy God, and telleth thee that thou mayst neither see Him clearly by light of understanding in thy reason, nor feel Him in the sweetness of love in thy affection. (Johnston 49) Within this catholic tradition, the souls retain their individuality. They experience no sounds nor smells. No visions are nentioned. In fact, sensuality is as absent as possible within the construction of experience through language. The language that is used to descri1::e the experience is, perhaps from necessity, sensual. 'Ihe experience itself is not. On the other hand, we have Margery and the questions raised by the homely sensuality of her language. She advertises our cultural symbol, a "bone maryd ring to Thesu Crist" (78), to demonstrate her marriage to Christ. She has arranged, through the agreement of chastity with her human husband, to make her "body fre to" Christ (81). In fact, in one of his confabulations with her, Jesus says: perfore mst I nedys be hanly wyth pe 6c lyn in ~i bed wyth pe. Dowtyr, thow desyrest gretly to se me, 6c ~u mayst boldly, 'Whan pu art in pi bed, take ne to~ as for pi weddyd husbond, as thy derworthy derlyng, & as for thy swete sone, for I -wyl be louyd as a sone schuld te louyed wyth pe mder & wil pat ~u loue ne, dowtyr, as a good owyth to loue hir husbonde. & perfor mayst boldly take ne in pe arms of pi sowle & kissen my mowth, myn bed, & myn fete as swetly as thow wylt. (90) This explosion of physical and spiritual love demands a readjustnent of our conceptions of the roles that human beings and the God they love, play. First, Margery takes an three roles to parallel that of

PAGE 125

118 the trinity. The book addresses her through Jesus as mother, daughter, and wife. In the bed with her is the invisible Spirit, which she "desires greatly to see"; Jesus, the Son; and God, the Father. Second, love itself assumes three mvements. Margery's love travels from her rental desire to an erotic physical expressiai in which she shoUld "boldly take" Christ as her husband. '!his love transfonns into a maternal expression as she assumes the role of the Virgin Mary. Finally, a syncretism of erotic and spiritual love returns via a vertical mov~t of wedded physical expression, proceeding downwards from a kiss to Christ's m::mth, his "bed," and feet. 25 It is the way, w may recall, that we read the book as we move down its page. Yet Margery does not let readers leave the scene without its sounds tracing in their minds' ears the afterglow of love. She described the bellows' sound of the Holy Spirit transforming into the voice of the dove--a symbol used to describe another strong woman whose autobiography affected the world-St. Teresa of Jesus, who, like Margery Kempe cherished the water imagery symbolized by Margery's tears. She, too, was part of a feminist mystical mvement, influenced by the woman at the well, which sang with the Song's desires and made woman's voice heard as mther-preacher. She, like Margery, became mre than netaphoric object and subverted the tradition of the Bride by insidious humility instead of Margery's bedded bliss. such were the love tokens fran the affective tradition. As creator-or desiring creatur, Margery performs a whole series of subversions in her presentation of this vision of the nedieval/spiritual/sensual/family bedroom scene. Margery applies

PAGE 126

119 various teclmiques, such as directional inversion and parallel rhetoric, to achieve the subjugation of God, mostly through Jesus, into the lave object. She performs a series of parallel actions: she speaks as Creator of the vision; she plays a mother's role in trying to bind her son to her in the absence of his father; she creates the Father who speaks giving her, the Dowtyr, permission to see Him; she perforns as a bold creatur, kissing Christ's mouth, head, and feet because in her scene he has given her permission to touch him; she acts the wife who is given permission to be sensually aggressive. Certainly she uses the E!IIDtional scenery if not the hierarchical order of St. Bernard. Through visual oscillation, focus on Christ, explicit dialogue, and an inversion of the traditional action-this time from spiritual prohibition to sensual permission-Margery's vision opens the curtain on a subversion of the mystical na.rriage. Many critics have mentioned the book's description of Margery's reluctant na.rriage with the Godhead. Basically, they do not seem to know what to do with it. The reason for the difficulty seems to be her subversion of mystical tradition. As has been noticed by other writers, she did not follow the apophatic school. If she had followed it, no concrete scenes could have been thus staged. 'lllat approach best used far describing union with God, the father, includes: poetry, mathematics, treatise, music, or dream sequence. She knew she "should" want to have union with God, the Father, but she did not want to. Since she followed the cataphatic school, union is best described in prose sermons and autobiography where the union with Christ is more

PAGE 127

120 easily made as a union of love through the body. But Christological union was supposed to be the n:eans not the end, as it was for Mll'gery Kempe. Nancy Partner sees Margery as suppressing her desire for the father, an idea which certainly has merit. But imaginative affinity is tightly lx>und to individual taste and my have much mre or much less basis than Freudian analysis allow. Her affinity for Jesus is Margery's individual mystical love expression (perhaps her love for the chylde); yet the Church describes Jesus as the Way to God-a preliminary. The Father is a "should desire" imposed and expected from the faithful. Most of Margery's lx>ok omits her o-wn father, except when she used his~ as a societal tool to extricate herself frcm charges of heresy.26 In the Middle Ages the exclusion of the mther is culturally expected, but by relegating the father to the role of trespasser Margery performed an outright transgression against the patriarchal society. She explained her attraction to the manhood of Christ as reason for her seeming aversion to God, the Father: & perfor it was no wondyr zyf sche wer stille & answeryd not pe Fadyr of Hevyn 'Whan he teld hir pat sche xuld be weddyd to hys Godhed. Than seyd Secunde Persone, crist Thesu, whoys manhode sche louyd so meche, to hir 'Art wel plesyd ~t it be so? And~ sche wold not answeryn Secunde Persone but wept wondir sor desirying to haue stille hym-selfe & no wyse to be departed fro hym. (87) Margery's silence in the vision is itself a lacuna. Her loquacious description of the scene clearly surrounds the emission of her mm voiced vow. She wept at the prospect of marrying God, the Father, and saw the "union" as divisive of her love for Jesus. Her Jesus attempted a mediation by excusing/defending Margery when he alluded to her youth

PAGE 128

121 and lack of knowledge. But it would seen that such a defense is untenable in light of Margery's age. She was past forty years old an the pilgrimage to Rate at the tine of this vision. To say that she was spiritually youthfUl denied her responsibility in having wedded herself to Christ in the previously mentioned ring and mantle cereioony. Furthermore, the marriage to the Godhead did not impact the continuing relationship Margery had with Christ throughout the rest of the book. It is as if the God-marriage had not occurred. Thus, Margery redefined the mystical marriage (union) in tenns of the bride's "unwillingness" and in terms of separation from Christ-a very unChristian and unorthodox view. But the question of orthodoxy in the Middle Ages is a plaguing one. Within the faith, paradoxes abounded, and their perception of ambiguities made virtuous priests and mnks acutely conscious of their insecurity. Contemporary trials for heresy were abominations of superstition that not only resUlted in the burning of the human teings Christ had loved, but also harm:!d the faith such trials were supposed to protect. Margery's independent thinking, her telief in the immanence of Christ, her birthing-tears, her forthright autobiographical book, her wananhood-all these characteristics can te seen as open opposition to the male structure that enclosed her. If that Church was patriarchal, if it was gender-elite, if it dictated that WOIIeil te treated as possessions, it was the Church fran which Margery withdrew. She may have teen declared innocent at both trials which had accused her of heresy, but to say that Margery Kempe was orthodox is to avoid the implications of her book.

PAGE 129

122 The story of Margery Kempe continues to pose as much difficulty as she herself must have posed by her life. Where does her book fit? Is it solely, or even, the revelations of a mystic? Is it merely one of the 'Lives' of the period, which is to say that it is only one of various interesting autobiographical records which contribute to the history of Western culture? As a book within the mystical tradition, it is unorthodox, despite patriarchal efforts to absorb it and render it invisible. Its voice is loud, sanetimes whining, always its own. It refuses male dominance, yet uses two male scribes for its production. We cannot, however, despite the fact that the book was produced, or written do'Wil by two :nen, say that it is the product of a male culture except as it breaks with that culture. As Foucault described "specificity," this book "declares that a particular discourse cannot be resolved by a prior system of significations" (Arch. 229). en the other hand, if all we use as our basis for studying mysticism is Margery Kempe, then we miss a rich, if consistent, intuition of divinity through the ages. Similarly, to understand Margery through her book, we view the mther through her child. '!here is much that we miss though the eyes and muth might share a certain voluptuousness. Margery's book tells us about ourselves, too. It reveals our prejudices in a remarkable way. Hysterical defenses of Margery's orthodoxy add no mre understanding to her difference than attacking her in the rume of hysteria. Fran the beastly cries of the creatur-Margery-delivered the Word of woman from the love language of St. Bernard. But the rhetorical :netanoia she acccmplished required the bolstering of a second woman who would be in same -ways mre

PAGE 130

123 acceptable to the tradition and in others even more striking, but this would take another two hundred years. Notes 1 Since Middle English can generally be read with a minimum of referral, I have used the Meech and Allen rendition of 1940 for all quotations from 'Ihe Book of Margery Kempe. Note also that Margery went to the anchorite, a well-known holy man to discover/gain corroboration if the source of her visions was from the devil or from God. In St. Bernard's Sermons on the Song of Songs the nursing image of Christ's breasts is invoked. 'Ihe English were quite familiar with Bernard's writings by this time. 2 For a discussion of linear projection, see Mark Johnson's 'Ihe Body in the Mind, p.114; for what I describe as "containment," see his "center-periphery" rrodel which incorporates an "inner-outer" rattern on pp.124-125. 3 The Book has a two rart division of style and composition tirre attributed to two scribes. The identity of the first scribe remains unknown. Margery's son was a possibility since l:oth scribe and son, though English born, had corre back frorn Germany and both had died about the same time. No other evidence has emerged. 'Ihe second scribe appears to be her confessor. 4 Refer to John c. Hirsh's corrments on the second scribe as author in his article "Author and Scribe in 'Ihe Book of Margery Kempe," Medium Aevum, 44 (1975), 245-50. 5 Nancy Partner's polemical article in Exemplaria (1991) identifies mystical rhetoric as sexual. She gives the mystic experience no credence except in those terms. As for Margery, Partner presents a good case for her harbored incestuous desires for her father which caused the sublimation of the father in the rook. Though it is a typically Freudian analysis with sorre knowledgeable rhetorical application, it lacks Freud's synlpathy. 6 George Tuma noticeably gives Margery Kempe short shrift in his comparative work of fourteenth-century English mystics. 'Ihe reasons for his disparagement are two. First, he appears to take the negative criticism of her--which he surnmarizes--as his starting point (42-45). None of the other mystics he treats receive this negativity. Second, he finds construction of a conceptual field for her unitive experience somewhat illogical, although he does believe that she m:l.de indirect reference to mystical union (124-5). An opinion he stops short of expressing is whether Margery is a mystic at all, but he does grant her "illuminative" status. 7 I am repeating the reference to Riehle on Margery which I gave in the chapter on St. Bernard. see also Riehle's comments about

PAGE 131

124 Margery in the Standring translation of The Middle English Mystics, especially in regard to M:lrgerys clutching Olrists toes (mentioned in more detail later in this chapter) 8 This passage fran the Muslim Koran {also spelled Qur'an) is quoted in Merlin Stone, 195. It is one of the less odious pronouncements against wcmen which she references regarding sexuality in the Muslim, Hebrew, and Christian literature. other excerpts fran the Qu'ran are ex>llected in S.E. Frost, ed. The Sacred Writings of the World's Great Religions, N.Y: Garden City Books, 1943. SUra refers to the chapter division of the Qur'an. 9 All biblical quotations are taken fran the Ranan catholic The New American Bible (Washington,D.C: COnfraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1970) unless historical exegesis requires other sources. 10 For related discussion see Eileen Power, "The Position of Women," The Legacy of the Middle Ages, eds. G.C.Crump and E.F. Jacobs (OXford, 1926), 401-34; and Joan Kelly Gadol's "Did lbneil Have a Renaissance?" in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, eds. Renete Bridenthal and Claudia Koony (Boston, 1977), 137-163. 11 In Meech Sc Allen's chapter 3 Margery's describes her humiliation at the hands of a male aquaintance. She had first rebuffed his advances then succumbed to them, offering herself, only to be told that he would be chopped meat before be would have her. Culturally indoctrinated, she saw the situation as her own fault. Her abstinence frcm sexual relations with her husband increased her sexual anxiety, and her sexual visions ensued. De Beauvoir's mirelated reference to menopausal behavior {quoted in the chapter) well describes this period in Margery's life. Of interest, too, is M:lrgerys later use of the chopped meat image in reference to herself and God. The transformation of image from a sexual connection to a spiritual one repeats the Bernardine formula. 12 See Hope Allen's conmunity listing of Johannes Kemp braceator (brewer) in M=ech, 364. Though Margery describes this business as her own, her illiteracy and wifely status probably precluded her independent listing. Margery heard music and merry-making frcm Paradise while in bed with her husband. The experience seeued to confirm her desire for heaven and her purgation of worldly experiences, in particular her sexual union with her husband. 13 I am thinking here of Plato's Phaedrus. 14 The Aristotle quotation cx:mes frcm Arthur Platt, trans. De Generatione Animalium, eds. smith 6. Ross, The Works of Aristotle II (OXford: Clarendon, 1912). 15 Nancy Tuana's article "The Weaker Seed: The Sexist Bias of Reproductive 'lbeory" in Hypatia (Sunmer, 1988) gives a canprehensive

PAGE 132

125 historical depiction of scientific bias toward "spirit" and "action" from male origin. Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, and Allesandro Benedetto are quoted on pp.46-48. However, my reference to Aquinas comes from Anton Pegis' Basic Writings (N.Y: Random, 1945). 16 A shocking study of unofficial nodern psychoanalytic procedure which victimizes worren sexually can be found in Phyllis Chesler's Women and Madness, N.Y:Avon, 1972. Of this study Masters and Johnson said that if only 25% of these specific reports were correct, an overwhelming issue confronts professionals in the field. 17 See the historical view of archeological evidence afforded by Merlin Stone's When God Was a Woman (1976) for a comprehensive discussion of early gynocentric societies, especially those of the Amazons. 18 Margery was officially brought to trial twice; both times her answers confirmed her orthodoxy on the controversial issues of the times. She made an enemy of a "rich nan of Bristol" whop.it her off the ship at Santiago. In rebuttal she promised him that the Lord would put him out of heaven. It was ":umnediately afterwards" that she was "summoned" into the Bishop's presence, who was sufficiently impressed by her manner and social standing to make no resistance. Following her pilgrimage to Santiago, Margery was jailed for heresy in Leicester after making another enemy of a nan to whom she refused an explanation of her crying. See also Eric Colledge's "Margery Kempe" Month (July, 1962): 16-29, for an "orthodox" view. He says, "But in fact she was no heretic, and her whole Book is a remarkable and valuable witness of the degree of theological and scriptural knowledge to which an illiterate laywoman could attain" (21). 19 John Kemp does admit to being frightened to approach Margery sexually because he believed he would die if he did. Furthennore, he wanted a nore cheerful relationship and promised her release from the marital obligation in return for her breaking her Friday fast. They negotiate while stopping to rest on a foot journey. 20 See Gies, p.52 for a brief history of the rrarital "obligation." 21 See Hope Allen's note 33, p.273 in Meech regarding the approximate dating of official recognition. 22 see M.D. Robert Seidenberg's article "Is Anatomy ~stiny?" (in Miller, 320) for a questioning of estrogen supplements as cultural bias rather than biological necessity. Mary Sherfey M.D. and Leon Salzman, M.D. provide illuminating discussions of feminine sexuality in terms of language, anatomy, and treatment. Traditional scientific vie-ws are scrutinized against fairly new knowledge. Their articles are in Psychoanalysis and Women (1973).

PAGE 133

126 23 Institutions do not have to l::e "stifling," nor do ne.ny women see marriage as bondage; however, I do believe that Margery saw them that way. 24 See Gies', p.57 and Lucas, p.50 for mmrnents on the white-robed nuns. 25 We may also note that in Sermon 3 on the Song of Songs, St. Bernard describes a sequential upward movement of the contemplative through a kiss to Christ's feet, hand, and nouth. 26 See Meech & Allen, p.109, which shows Margery verifying her reliability and social status with reference to her father in the presence of the Bishop of Worcester. He was sufficiently impressed to release her and did not charge her with heresy at that time. Jailed in Leicester at another time, Margery tried to invoke her father again: I am of Lynne in Norfolke, a good mannys dowtyr of pe same Lynne, whech hath l:::en neyr fyve tymes and aldyrman also many zerys. (111) It did no good that time and she was charged.

PAGE 134

127 Figure 2 Metanoia

PAGE 135

CHAPl'ER 3 SWORD OF SILENCE: THE CONCEPI'IONS OF SAINI' TERESA OF AVILA "Behold, the bed of Solaoon sixty strong nen surrounding it all holding swords and most learned in warfare each one's sword on his thigh I will seize you and lead you into the house of my rother there you will teach me." (Song of Songs 3:7-8; 8:2) Locus Reading Saint Teresa of Jesus (1515-1582) is like visiting her birthplace--Avila, Spain.1 She presents an exterior of golden fortification and an interior of winding, narrow streets leading to a walled garden--a garden fed by a single spring of mystical water and fertilized by human silence. 2 ''We receive nany graces here, said the soft-spoken monja (cloistered nun) frcm behind the walled turntable of Teresa's first Reformed carmelite Monastery, which the saint dedicated to St. Joseph in Avila. The emotional life of this present-day nun could only be glimpsed in the tremors and tonal variations that made their way through the partition as she spoke of her life. Joyously, this twentieth-century daughter of Teresa acknowledged the convent's separation fran the curious intrusion of the world. Her only wish was to glorify God. All the strangely mozarabic/Hebrew/Christian stones of Spain recall St. Teresa's own efforts toward such glorifying. The saint's presence is overwhelming, not so much in the parts of her body proudly displayed for veneration in various places across Spain,3 but in the atmosphere of the places in which she lived. The roan where she died in Alba de '!'Ormes, for instance, szrelled of fresh roses, though there were no flowers in that 128

PAGE 136

129 roan. In the center of Spain's largest library of old books at san Lorenzo de El Escorial-the nonastery wich houses all the tombs of the Spanish kings, queens, and their children4-a glass cabinet houses Teresa's portable wooden inkwell and her handwritten autobiography. Indeed, it would seem that the products of her fertile mind hold a central position among all the dusty tomes of thousands of men. In Spain it is easy to feel the spirit of the saint's mystique. Here she becanes much mre than the vibrant intellect of her words. It was her words, though, that disseminated the power wich nurtured her in Avila. For those who wished to follow her contemplation, she has left las moradas (The Interior castle); for those wo wish to know her life, she has left la Vida (The Autobiography) and al.m:>st five hundred surviving letters collected and edited in Epistolario (The Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus); and for those who might wish to establish monasteries, she has left us the record of her administrative success in Libro de las fundaciones (The Book of the Foundations).5 She has also left us more than thirty-one poems. In short, for those who wish to understand the life and work of st. Teresa, she has provided. It> attempt to trace the affective tradition in terms of the re-appropriated bridal retaphor from the sermons of st. Pernard m the Song of Songs in twelfth-century France to sixteenth-century Spain can be canplete without giving attention to Teresa's feminist6 literature. The saint's Meditaciones sobre los cantares (Meditations on the Song of Songs), retitled for publication to Conceptos del aioor de Dios (Conceptions of the Love of God), was originally suppressed says E. Allison Peers (Works 353). A confessor thought it "a new and

PAGE 137

130 dangerous thing that a wanan should write on the Songs" and, was following 11 st. Paul's instruction that wanen should keep silence in the Church of God"; he determined that it should not be read (Works 355). '!be new title which J. Gracian affixed to the suppressed work seems particularly apt, since the Teresian "conceptions" are fetal productions nourished by a cultural heritage of three living religions--Hebrew, Moslem, and Christian-as well as the Classical thoughts of Plato and Aristotle explored by the medieval Spanish Arabs. This meditative work not only shows the mystical faith which burns in the confidence of the saint, but it is also of special interest because it demonstrates that a wanan bom in a misogynist country during a time period when there was general acknowledgement of male superiority could, nevertheless, teach. Teresa may have been expected to keep silence. Nevertheless she wrote, using the coded language of a woman determined to camrunicate her thoughts in spite of efforts to suppress them. The mdem reader needs a certain degree of preparation for understanding the language of St. Teresa. We need to understand sanething of herself-same biographical information, her idea of humility, the people and books that influenced her, the societal behaviors and visual expressions that formed cultural attitudes; as well as a few things about her text-its censorship and its rhetoric. To say that her voice is feminist, that she speaks to wanen of obedience as a way to conquer, of contemplaticn as a sword of protection, of wcmen's spirituality as having a mre direct experience of God than men's is to speak in opposition to a tradition that

PAGE 138

131 identifies Saint Teresa as humble, obedient, lacking in scholarship, and--more recently--as transcending the boundaries of her sex for herself alone and becoming virile and manly in the process. Born Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada on March 28, 1515 to the second wife of Ik:ln Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda, Ik:lna Beatriz Davila y Ahumada, Teresa was the sixth child of twelve--nine of which were delivered of Ik:lna Beatriz (1495-1528) who died at the age of thirty-three when Teresa was thirteen (just one year younger than her mother had been at her marriage). Teresa describes her in the Vida as "very virtuous," as "living a life of great infirmity," as "chaste," "extremely beautiful," "tranquil," and of "great intelligence" (Peers 66-67). Her only vice--according to Teresa who emUlated it to the annoyanc:e of her father--was reading popular books of chivalry (68). 'As recorded in the scholarship of the 1940s, Teresa's father was of converse background. We might remember that the edict of 1492 required Hebrews to either leave the country or convert to Christianity (becorre converses). If they did neither, they were burned. His own father, though converted to Christianity, "had reverted to Jewish practices" and had to be "reconciled" (Weber 8) in an auto da fe, a form of "trial" and/or execution of heretical habits against the faith as part of the ,I Inquisition (Hroch and Sh.-ybova 113). 'Ihus, Teresa's grandfather and her O"wn father, uncle, and grandmother had suffered public disgrac:e in Toledo. They had not only t-een rrade to walk barefoot through its steep, cobbled and twisted streets, but also to wear the yellow sanbenitos (armbands) which later carried the family's name and were hu.n;J in the parish church, ensuring that no honorable parish position

PAGE 139

132 would ever accrue to that family. It seems an interesting clothing parallel between the disgrace afforded Margery Kempe and that shown to Teresa's family. We might remember that Margery had been made to wear her dress cut off with a cone hat as a sign of shame in fourteenth-century Europe, and one of the variations on the sanbenito robes worn by the family of st. Teresa is a thigh-high tunic with a cone hat ( illus. in Hroch and Skyoova 151). How ironic that fran such a 11 tainted 11 family the highly honorable saint should spring. '!hough she felt deep love and respect for her father, it was necessary to be defiant to him as well as defiant to the curse of the sanbenitos in order to fulfill such a destiny. Thus, in retrospect, we cannot be surprised that Teresa secretly and anxiously left her father's house without his permission to enter the Convent of the Incarnation, taking the carmelite habit on November 2, 1536 at the age of twenty-one (Peers, Life F.N.2, 77) and taking the name Teresa de Jesus. Her reason: What was disobedience to her dearly loved earthly father was obedience to her heavenly father. Thirty-eight years later she completed the I-Editations, showed the work to her confessor, Fray Diego de Yanguas, and under his direction obediently threw it into the fire. She was further directed to destroy all copies of the manuscript, yet the Duchess of Alba wrote that she had received a copy of the rranuscript during this time period. Here she may again have been choosing to obey a higher authority. But these events spawn innumerable questions for which answers are not readily available; those that are suggested involve us in the midst of critical dispute. For instance, the first question

PAGE 140

133 that comes to mind is: Had Teresa managed to fundamentally alter her indomitable will evidenced in her life to such a degree that she would unquestionably follow that of her confessor? It seems doubtful, especially when we examine the things she dared to say. Second, how authentic is the Meditations manuscript known and described today as Conceptos del amor de Dios? It is obvious that some parts of the original document are missing in the beginning pages of the Duchess of Alba's copy, but, despite suppression and some odd manipulations, we can l:e reasonably sure of the Alba codex's authenticity. In her testimony of 1610, the L"uchess of Alba, Iona Maria Enriquez de Toledo y Colona, describes being given a copy of the manuscript at the convent during the tine when P. Diego de Yanguas ordered her [Teresa] to have all the copies collected and burned, not because there was anything wrong in the book, but because he thought it unfitting that a wcman should write on the Songs. (Peers, Works 354) J. Gracia.n's edition, published in Brussels in 1611, follows the Alba manuscript and seems to l:e the definitive version republished in Aguilar's fifth edition of Obras Completas (Madrid, 1945). E. Allison Peers, notable Spanish mystic scholar, used J. Gracia.n's edition in its entirety, but made use of the few differences and options provided by other existing manuscripts.? A question remains about what prompted Father Yanguas to destroy a nun's written comments on the Seng of Songs, however, was it just the gender of the writer as the DJ.chess of Alba's testimony would suggest, or could there be additional reasons? Perhaps the doctrinal content of the writing, the nature o= the Song, or even an intimation of rhetoric subversive to the patriarchal tradition made him uneasy. According to Maria de San Jose, nun and

PAGE 141

134 sister to Teresa's friend/confessor/protege/editor Father Jeronimo Gracian, who testified at the saint's beatification (1614) and canonization (1622) hearings, Fray Diego de Yanguas explained how Teresa had showed him a book on the Songs that she had written, and that he had ordered it to be burned, because it did not seem suitable to him that a woman should write on the Songs. And she obeyed immediately, without questioning his decision. (Quoted in Peers, Works 354) This provides no more than the single reason first quoted--a woman ought not to write about such a subject. He gives no further explanation than this, but, to be fair, Fray Diego de Yanguas regretted his decision at a later date. To return to a more interesting question, that of Teresa of Avila's "obedient" act to Yanguas' order to burn her rook, we rray ask: what led the saint to the kind of defiance which saved copies of her written words? This will involve a consideration o~ St. Eernard's discussion of "will." P.e said that "1dll" is part of the individual's identity which, through grace, ccnsents or agrees to the already-infused desire accompanying love. Teresa's "will" seems to follow this definition and could confuse the roocem reader who might :be unsure of anyone's "identity." It is just such a "will" that prompts ~.argery Kempe to listen to her internal Jesus's acrrice to travel des:i;:ite the admonition of her confessor. Neither Marger.1 nor Teresa professes to dishonoring men; both women show tneir sole concern as honoring God. The differences bE,tween them include the degree of their freedom and the extent of their influence. Peth St. Bernard and St. Teresa were enclosed within the Institution of

PAGE 142

135 Religious Orders which tested and authorized their ccromunications; Margery Kempe, as a lay wife with potential for much less freedom and no authorization, marginalized herself to gain freedom. But just as St. Eernard chose the way of the Bride, so roth women willed to embrace their gender as the means of God's grace and, thus, actively denied the inferior status to which they were relegated and to which they frequently referred. It is true that there has 1:een much speculation over the years regarding St. Teresa's "rhetoric of femininity. 11 8 It is especially difficult for us to question the sincerity of a saint when she describes herself as humble and weak precisely because she is a woman and has had no formal education as the male theological authorities of her day had. The options are clearly drawn. We may accept her honesty in this account because she represents all that we Jmow of honesty, which the OED defir..es as "fair and just in character," "free of deceit and untruthfulness," "fairly earned," "showing fairness," "blameless but undistinguished," "unsophisticated," and "genuine" especially when, responding to a particular modem usage, one makes a pregnant woman "honest" by marrying her. Teresa was known for her fair and just dealings with her nuns, being especially generous to those who were sick; according to her Vida she told "all" to her confessors, though we might doubt that she was as forthright with others; her Order refused Church maintenance, accepting only private donations from individuals and, of course, the dowries of the accepted nuns; for many years critics r.ave described her character as "blameless" and her writing as "undistinguished"; it was her "unsophisticated" style with

PAGE 143

136 the vivid personality that enraptured her audience; of course, since she was pregnant with God's spirit, she necessarily had to beccme his bride. After all, if she had not entered the convent, her father wculd have continued to rule her life until he could find a human husband who would continue the pattern. In her autobiografhY she describes her preliminary thoughts regarding the convent as the lesser of two evils: "But I was still anxious not tote a nun, for God had not as yet been pleased to give me this desire, although I was also afraid of marriage" (Life 74). She was, then, an honest woman, and the pope himself proclaimed her a r::octor of the Church, the first woman to have this high honor. On the other hand, we mi~ht acknowledge the apparent discrepancy of her "humility" with her authority as founder9 of the Discalced Cannelite Order and the papal authority granted in the bull of Pope Pius VI with which she travelled about Spain even while supposedly cloistered. Furthennore, her dissatisfaction with confessors not trained in contemplative practice incited her to establish the male counterparts to her nuns and write guidelines for their instruction en hearing confessions,10 not to speak of the instructions to which she subjected her nuns whose readings were limited to those Teresa selected and wrote for them. We might even go further than acknowledging "discrepancy" and say that her vie-w of humility is not ours. Rather, "htnnility" may have been the ass on which she rode in tritnnph ever many of the dominating men of her time. And, if such actions are conceivable only as a very special kind of humility, such a move might be further perceived as dishonest. Every secret that we keep from others, every esoteric code we share with a select group

PAGE 144

137 opposing the main, every political subterfuge we use, can be considered an act of "dishonesty." Teresa wrote during the time of secret confessions, silent communications, fortified towns, Church/State confusions, Erasrnian ironies, and other humanist codes. Her friend/co-founder, St. John of the Cross, we might remember, was imprisoned by his order, but eventually escaped because he received forbidden shelter and aid frcm the Discalced cannelite nuns.11 While she lived, Teresa aided Jeronimo Gracian enough to ensure his leacership as Provincial of the Discalced car.nelites, but after her death he was dismissed and forced to wander as a mendicant until he died as merely an Observant carmelite (Colvill 258). She herself had teen denounced to the Inquisition a number of times. Her Vida, for instance, was investigated and delated over a period of thirteen years (Weber 35). F~ay Diego de Yanguas was a theologian for the Inquisition as well as Teresa's regular confessor. Eecause of Yanguas' association with the Inquisition, Peers suggests an alternative reason for the book-burning order with which this discussion began: he [Yanguas] decided that it should be destroyed, not because it contained any erroneous doctrine, but because of the risk that, if it fell into indiscreet hands, it would involve the author in trouble with the Inquisition. (WorlIB 353) Thus, Fray Diego de Yanguas may have been actir.g as her protector. For a woman to speak of certain things, especially the Song, it was not merely improper, it was extremely dangerous. His protection of her seems warranted ~hen we acknowledge that in 1597 theologians reco:mnended that all of Teresa's works be burned (Weber 3). Furthermore, the papal nuncio of her own day described her as nothing

PAGE 145

138 more than "a restless gadabout" and "a disobedient and contumacious woman, who invented wicked doctrines, and called them devotion and taught others, against the commands of St. Paul" (from Reforma de los Descalzos, quoted in Weber 4) It seems, then, quite likely that she was one of the women writers, of whan Peter Dronke said, who "sometimes used 'weak woman' as an ironic self-description in order to underline their special standing before God" (quoted in Bynum, Zone 186). We should, therefore, re advised of this last possibility as we explore the Conceptions because it furnishes some answers to questions not yet considered. So far, then, we have four possible reascns for suppression of St. Teresa's writing: (1) women should be silent, (2) writing about the Song was not tolerated, (3) Teresa needed to re protected, and (4) her protectors needed to protect themselves. We cannot fail to notice that Teresa is less than straightfonard in her writing, or to put it another way, she is creatively adaptive in rhetoric and well aware of the tropes r.ecessary for her to corrmunicate. The period fran 1522-1525 saw the pinnacle of Erasmian influence in Spain, a time of codes, ambiguities, conceits. As if this were not enough, we find that Teresa was initiated into mystical thought via the acrostic essays of Francisco de Osuna's Tercer abecedario espiritual (Third Spiritual Alphabet). Her own uncle had given her the book, known as Spain's first instructional contemplative work, in 1538 (Peers Mother 12; Hatzfeld dates it 1535 and credits the book with persuading Teresa to enter the convent). In fact, today the convent displays a copy of this well-marked book which Teresa brought with her.

PAGE 146

139 Osuna, an Observant of the Franciscan Order with an education which included the rhetoric taught at the University of Salamanca, describes a progression from the literal weaning of a letter of the alphabet to its spiritual significance. He prescribes the ABC as a lesson/act of humility in which the person becomes as a little child learning from Jesus. His practice of interior prayer, known as recogimiento (recollection) differs from dejamiento (the abandonment of the will to God, as practiced by the alumbrados/ Illuminists) "in that it requires," says Mary Giles, "mental concentration and active directing of the mind" (5). We might note that, even with the differences between the twu practices, some cross-influences must have been operating since "In all cases the centers of alurnbrados were near a Franciscan monastery or retreat house" (8). Furthermore, Catherine Sweitlicki's Spanish Christian cabala (1986) mentions that "Osuna was known to have been an early associate of those who were later called alumbrados, and he is thought to be of converse stoc1<:" (80). Since Saint Teresa was so influenced by the Third Soiritual Alphabet and her contemplative "way" is often critically connected with the alumbrados, we cannot fail to be interested in Osuna's possible connection to them. Whenever scholarship addresses Teresa, the alumbrados are always mentioned. It is true that these people who followed their own inspiration from the Holy Spirit in the matter of understanding Scripture allowed women major leadership roles such as that which Teresa undertook. No woman in Spain, we should remember, was permitted to write explanations and/or teach Scripture. Of course, prohibition

PAGE 147

140 does not always preclude action, and the alumbrado women, like Teresa, spoke out on the Scriptures and had followings among the people. Weber mentions Isabel de la Cruz of Toledo as "true mother and teacher," Maria de cazalla as gospel preacher in Guadalajara, and Francisca Hernandez as influential cormnentator in Valladolid (23). There are other points of resemblance, too: her converse background, her inclination to interpret the Song herself, her explanations that God allowed her untutored comprehension of Latin, and her books which taught ways to God. Also, the Prayer of Quiet, which she practiced, indicates association to the dejarniento in which the alurnbrados surrendered themselves to God's will. 'The most important differences are that, unlike the alurnbrados, Teresa led fran a position within the Church, and it should also be noted that she was supported by her carefully chosen confessors, and wrote a few decades later when the Inquisition had beccrre more careful in its denunciations. Though the alurnbrados would have liked to operate within it, the Church's activities had quickly marshalled their forces against any unorthodox appearance because of the reaction to Luther in Germany. 'As a result, the alurnbrados, like Margery Kempe, were outside the circle of protection and had to rely upon themselves. In 1525 when Teresa was merely ten years old, for instance, the Inquisition's edict branded the alurnbrados as heretics on at least two counts--j ustif ication by faith and "impeccability, 11 a belief that once united with God a person cannot sin. The mingling of the sexes in alurnbrado worship, found within the "impeccable" context, brought

PAGE 148

141 Inquisitorial charges of illicit relationshiFs among beatas and their confessors because they seemed to endanger public rrorality (Weber 24). The Inquisition did not find Teresa guilty of endangering public morality, but her Vida was suspected by some rren to be a record of the demonic possession women were subject to. Such a charge brought against the alurnbrado women resulted in burnings and hangings. Contemplation, particularly if it were practiced by women, particularly if it resulted in ecstatic experiences, threatened nale control; any suspicion of it was dealt with in deadly haste. Teresa distanced herself from any hint of alurnbrado association, and she also countered possible charges against her nuns by explaining their behavior as rrelancholic, an acceptable womanly disorder. She overstepped her cultural bounds, however, when she wrote on the Song. In writing on the Song, Teresa followed the path of Luis de I.eon, the intellectual mystic who held the theology chair at Salamanca University. The Inquisition imprisoned him for translating the Song fran Hebrew into vernacular Spanish (1561) at a nun's request. As much as it would be a tidy connection to say that Teresa was I.eon's nun, the evidence points away fran such a conclusion. In fact, ttough Luis de Leen was the first editor of her works (1588)--omitting the Meditations--he wrote a letter stating that he had never met her nor knew her during her lifetime. Still, Teresa may well have used some of his translation. Carole Slade believes that the first line of the first verse is from I.eon's Song translation (34). Teresa's nost likely written source, though, is that which the nuns read in the weekly Office:

PAGE 149

142 Y asi lo podeis ver, hijas, en el Oficio que rezarnos de Nuestra Senora cada semana, lo mucho que esta de ellos en ant1fonas y lecciones. ("Conceptos" 507) (And thus you are able to see, daughters, in the Office that we say for OUr Lady each week, that much of it is from those antiphones and readings. See my note 7.) 'lb better canprehend the cress-currents of mystical thought and coded rhetoric in Renaissance Spain in 'Which Teresa participated, we must add a few observations on the religio-historical influenc:e of Kabbalah (spelled in Spanish as cabala) on converse families. For instance, the whole idea of spirituality "hidden" in letters (as well as numbers) is a major part of the Kabbalah, a gnostic tradition that identified the esoteric teachings of Jewish mysticism primarily frcm the twelfth century to today. As practiced in Spain, cabala emerged fran two schools of thought, Spanish and Proven9a1. The first developed from a catalonian rabbinic circle of Gerona, near Barcelona. Its most important Spanish proponent was Nahrnanides (c.1194-1270). The foremost authority on Kabbalah, G=rshom Sc~olem, describes Gerona's thought as a symbolic interpretation of the world of Judaism and its way of life based on a theosophy which taught the inner secrets of the revealed Godhead and on a rejection of rationalist interpretations of the Tcrah and the Corranandments. (48) A parallel 1::etween this school and the Christian affective mystical tradition may 1::e found, first, in the way that "hidden" knowledge is expressed through God's revelation and, second, in the way that the "knowledge" rejects rationalism. The Proven9al school is really a misnomer J::;ecause this body of thought is of unknown origin and merely appeared in Provence sometime between 1150 and 1200 in a record known as "Sefer ha-Bahir, ostensibly as ancient Mid.rash" (42). The "Bahir"

PAGE 150

143 preserves a Gnostic tradition which introduces the main points of the theory of the Sefirot. The Sefirot as God's err.anation includes the theory of transmigration and "aeons" (Divine attributes). Scholem describes the latter school as "based on contemplation of the Sefirot as a means of concentrating on the kavvanah [meditation] in prayer" (44); it was developed most fully in Spain by Isaac the Blind (d.c.1235). Both Provence and catalonia regarded him as this school's foremost representative. He describes the "Sefirot as stages in the hidden life of God" (46). Christian affective mysticism shares the meditative practice and the use of hierarchial stages, but differs in its vision of a changeless God with man's soul going through the stages rather than God. Though Isaac's neoplatonism distinguishes him from the Bahir itself, of most interest to this study is Isaac's specific contribution-"the mysticism of language. 11 He saw mm' s speech as "connected with divine speech, and all language, whether heavenly or human, 11 as coming from one source--the Divine Name" (46). The influence on Luis de Leon's book, De las Nombres de Cristo (Of the Names of Christ), is unmistakeable. Nahmanides made room for l:xJth mystical schools and mentions Cabala "rather surprisingly," says Scholem, in "a sermon on the occasion of a wedding" (51). St. Teresa, too, used various divine names to demonstrate divine attributes. For instance she refers to God most frequently as "His Majesty," and equates him with "His Palace," a "Mirror," the "Tree," the "Water," a "Pearl," and the "Primordial Point." Weber discusses the Cabalistic connection to such names: the Sefirotic Keter (Crown), the Binah

PAGE 151

144 (Palace), the Sefirah (Mirror), the Tif'eret (for both Tree and Pearl), the God of Israel, and a First Principle (cause of the divine emanation, 78). Finally, Teresa, like Nahmanides, describes the means for mystical appreciation in her V.editations on the Song of Songs--another kind of wedding sermon. The cabala connection continues with the work of Isaac ibn Latif, probably writing in Toledo retween 1230 and 1270. He identified man's "highest intellectual understanding" as only reaching the "bacl<:" of the Divine, whereas a picture of the "face" is disclosed only in a supra-intellectual ecstasy, which involves experience superior even to that of prophecy. This perception he calls "the beatitude of supreme comnrunion." True prayer brings the human intellect into communion with the Active Intellect "like a kiss," but from there it ascends even to union with the "first created thing"; beyond this union, achieved through words, is the union through pure thought intended to reach the First cause, i.e. the Primeval Will, and at length to stand l::efore God Himself. (53) I.atif's definition allows a reader to imagine a connection of Bahir cabala w~th Christian affective tradition, even to the shared metaphors revealing "Intellect" and Pernard's "Active" kiss. He privileges ecstatic experience over intellectual and points out, with astounding clarity, a mystical "union, achieved through 'WOrds" l::efore the meditative one which precedes Divine Union. We might see the parallel discourse this Hebrew mystic makes to St. Bernard's in his eighth sermon (see my chap. 1: 58-9). Additionally, we note his appropriation of Plato's "prime origin" taken from "Socrates' Second Speech" (See Phaedrus 49) as demonstrated in the Aristotelian "First cause" (See Metaphysics, Bk. I).

PAGE 152

145 Not only does Teresa's text reflect such religio-historical currents as those of the Nahmanides, Isaac the Blind, and Isaac ibn Latif, but it also reveals the mystical experiences of the Spanish folk tradition. In 1295 in Avila, an angel was recorded as having appeared to Nissim b. Abraham in order to show him the Cabalistic work, Pil'ot ha-Hokhmah (Scholeni 57). In this same coomunity M)ses de lean united the two schools of Cabalistic thought in his interpretation of the 2',ohar (esoteric lore with speculations an God). FE also interpreted Judaism through Midrashim (Jewish scriptural connentary) on the Torah, the books of Ruth and Lamentations, and, not surprisingly, on the Song of Songs. Teresa, too, unites Christian and cabala in her Conceptions. Of rost importance is her gendered reading of the Song. SWeitlicki says that the Song has teen held as especially holy because of its treatment of male and female "splendor" {169). other cabalistic CCIIUleiltaries revive the idea of the Shekinah (Divine) as the feminine eleIOOI1.t of God (Gruenwald 94-95), reminding us of caroline walker Bynum's thesis of Jesus as mother. Teresa is identified with Christian Cabala because, as SWeitlicki says, she demonstrated apocalyptic concerns implied in her reforms, her anphasis on the spiritual life, her choice of divine names, and her use of Cabalistic imagery to describe her mystical experience. {81) These connections, as well as those of family, friends, and the surrounding folk tradition show Teresa in the Cabala current, 1:ut the strongest bond is linguistic. Conman to Zoharistic and Teresian style are symbolic diversity and layering, tense variety, contingent activity, and unexpected biblical quotations--similar to Bernard's

PAGE 153

146 habits of reminiscence-all features to which our attention is drawn when reading any of Teresa's works. For instance in Meditations, Teresa's treat:aent of the tree shows the symbolic layering of both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. In her use of "ignorant female" she manipulates tense to prepare a denial of her accusation. She refers to the contingent activity of her lack of zremory and its response to the words of the .Q!!Sl. as she moves through it. Unexpected biblical quotations occur as a result of disjunctive netaphors, such as swords and lactating breasts, drawn fran the Song. One example of Teresian symbolic diversity is her use of the "cherubim" detailed in her autobiography. With an image made fa100us by Bemini's sculpture12 of the ecstatic saint and described in explicitly sexual terms by I.acan, Teresa relates being pierced in the heart by a flaming angel's spear. Her "error" in angelology was corrected by P. Banez, the official censor of the Vida and glossed by every editor afterwards. It becane ccmoon to substitute "seraphim" for Teresa's "cherubim." The seventeenth-century English poet, Richard Crashaw's "A Hymn to Sainte Teresa," for instance, identifies the "Blest Seraphim" (line 94) by way of reference to her entry in the Vida (Williams 56). Since no one has disagreed with the experts on Teresa's choice of angels, it seems appropriate to quote her Vida on the subject. Teresa wrote: Esta vision quiso el Senor le viese ansl: no era grande, sino ~eno, henooso lllllchO, el rostro tan encendido que parecla de los angeles muy subidos que parecen todas se abrasan (deven ser las que llaman cherubines, que las nanbres none las dicen; mas bien veo queen el cielo hay

PAGE 154

1 4 7 Figure 3 Bern' 1ni s Ecstasy of St Teresa

PAGE 155

148 tan diferencia de unos angeles a otros, y de otros a otros, que no lo sabria decir). Viale en las rranos un dardo de oro largo, y al fin de el hierro me parecia meter par el corazon algunas veces y que rre llegava a las /, entranas. Al sacarle, rre parec1a las llevava cons1go, y rre dejava toda abrasada enamor grande de Dias. Era tan grande el dolor que rre hacla dar ac;uellos quejidos, y tan excesiva la suavidad que rre pone este grandisiIID dolor, que no hay desear que si quite, ni se contenta el alma con rrenos que Dias. No es participar el cuerpo alga, y aun harto. Es un requiebro a su bondidad lo de a gustar a quien pensare que miento. (Vida 383-84) (The lord was pleased to send rre at times this vision: I would see an angel on my left in bodily form; I could not but marvel at such a sight. Although I have seen representations of angels many times, that was without seeing them but merely as passing glimpses, about which I first spoke. This vision that the Lord was pleased to send was thus: he was not too big, but small, very beautiful, his face was so fiery that he appeared to be one of those higher angels (they must be called cherubim, they do not tell rre their names; I see very well that in heaven there are such differences among angels, one from another, and groups fran other groups, so that I am unequal to a specific description.) I saw that he carried a long golden spear, and it seemed that the iron tip had a small flame; this he seemed to send through my heart several times and carried it far into the viscera. When he withdrew it, it felt like he took my insides with it, and left rre burning with the great love of God. I felt so much pain that I could not help some cries; so overwhelming was the sweetness left by this pain, that one desires never to lose it, nor is the soul ever content with less than God again. It is not a bodily pain, but spiritual, although the body somewhat participates in it, perhaps a lot. It is such a sweet courtship that passes l:::etween the soul and God, that I pray His generosity in this sane way is given to others to taste who think I may be lying. ) The importance of this passage for the reader of her much later work, the Conceptions, is not only in her cherubim "error," but also in its foregrounding of the mystico-physical connection. 'Ibis passage is also the basis of the yearly Feast of the Transverl:::eration of St. Teresa's heart. Her description of the union of body and soul through Divine penetration results in the delivery of love in a kind of Margery Kempe

PAGE 156

149 childbirth e..'
PAGE 157

150 against t~e sword is less certain, for the sword is said to strike swiftly so we might learn that human cleverness does not suffice to thwart its blows. And so to be in front of paradise I?Eans that rrortals cannot even reach the gate. Those whose exterior actions rrark them as angels on earth certify and demonstrate that God dwells in their hearts as in a paradise, but with respect to the interior, they nrust have cherubim within, which is to say, lofty knowledge of spiritual things. (126. My anphasis) Mary Giles' translation shows "cherubim" used repeatedly in this chapter and, as demonstrated above, carefully defined. First, the similarity between this exposition and Teresa's vision is too close not to be related, though it has gone unnoticed. Teresa may have been a rapid writer not given to research, but she kept Osuna's book with her in the convent, underlining many words and making notations in the margins. Certainly, she shows an affinity for the symbolic diversity of such images as fiery swords, internal cherubim, and God dwelling in hearts. Of most comfort, though, must have been the anti-(male)intellectual idea of the "words" of human cleverness locked outside the contemplative paradise. Thus the very passage that the saint's experts have used to unlock her psyche appears to be so influenced by a friar's treatise as to make her voice inseparable fran his. Second, the whole basis of reading Teresa's ecstasy in sexual tenrs appears to need re-evaluation. For instance, Lacan said: What was tried at the end of the last century, at the tilIE of Freud, by all kinds of worthy people in the circle of Charcot and the rest, was an attempt to reduce the mystical to questions of fucking. If you look carefully, that is not w"hat it is all about. (147) That her experience may include orgasm is no reason to think that is all there is to it. "The mystical, Lacan told us, "is by no I?Eans

PAGE 158

151 that which is not political. It is something serious" (146). As a "serious political" rrovement which inscribes the sexual, Osuna's mystical treatise persuaded Teresa to cloister herself, to refonn the carmelite Rule, and to write her way to understanding experiences that move through but transcend the physical. In other words, she exercised her will to embrace that which is the same as well as that which is different. La.can also draws attention to another way that language has been used to reduce what is not understood. 'Ihe language of sixteenth-century Spanish consistently devaluates women. For instance, alna is a feminine noun meaning "soul" much as anirna is a feminine noun meaning "spirit." Yet, traditionally, the woman has reen the source of separation of a man fran his soul, and the "Holy Spirit" still retains its masculine pronoun reference in the translations of the Nicean Creed. Lacan reminds us of such devaluaticn: For the soul to come into being, she, the woman, is differentiated frcm it, and this has alw-ays been the case. called woman (dit-femme) and defamed (diffame). The most famous things that have been handed down in history about women have been strictly speaking the most defamatory things that could be said of them. (156) Teresa, however, used languag-e in ways that transformed the typically misogynous patterns. She knew the differences among angels; she knew the differences among humans. In Meditations she quotes "Beserne con beso de su boca" (486, Kiss TIE with the kiss of your mouth), then tells the nuns: Diran que soy necia, que no quiere decir esto que tiene rrruchas significaciones. que esta claro que no hab1amos de decir esta palabra a Dias, que por eso es bien estas cosas no las lean gente simple. {487)

PAGE 159

152 (They will say that I .!!l an ignorant female, that she [the Brice] does not want to say this [Kiss rre with the kiss of your mouth], that it has many significations, that it clearly could not 1:::e addressed to God, that for this reason (the "ignorant" interpretation that Teresa gives] it is good these things [Song, s:pecifically; scriptures, in general]~ not read by simple people.) When we take into account Teresa's usually humble, verbal self-flagellations, we must notic~ that she did not call herself a necia (ignorant/foolish female), but anticipated being called one. This rhetorical enthymerne employs a topos of hypothetical utterances and offers answers to the anticipated interlocutors' objections. Furthermore, her use of the future tense clouds the validity of her statements and testifies to her knowledgeable use cf tense variety. As she continued, she made use of her mm ethos and the empathetic gender connection of her inurBdiate audience. As a contingent activity for the benefit of the censor, Teresa added the figure of thought called ocular demonstration, which describes an event by including what precedes, accompanies, and follows it. She described herself in terms of a "dumb" shepherd boy who stood amazed at the king's glory, which, nevertheless, pleased the king. Despite her jabs at devaluation and during the hearings for her canonization in 1627, she was identified as a "man" because of her accomplishments. For the Spanish to describe her as "woman" would have been an injustice 1:::ecause they agreed with Fray Francisco de Jesus, whose seventeenth-century sermon announced that she had "rectified nature's error with her virtue, transforming herself through virtue into the 1:one [i.e. Adam's rib] fran which she sprang" {quoted in Weber 18).

PAGE 160

153 For such a statement to be made public, there is ample historical precedent. The Church Fathers, Ambrose anc Jerome, developed the idea of a transsexual nature for approved feminine behavior. Ambrose discussed sue~. ;2r.c2r8d transfonration in terms of belief: Quae non credit, mulier est, et adhuc corporei sexus appellatione signatur; nam quae credit, ocurrit in virum perfectum. (Expositio evangelis secundum Lucam [PL 15: 1844]) (She who does not believe is a woman and shoUld be designated by the nane of her bodily sex, whereas she who believes progresses to complete manhood.) Jerore described the transformation in terms of service: Sin autem Christo rnagis voluerit servire quam saecUlo, mu.lier esse cessabit, et dicetur vir. (Conunentariorum in Epistolam ad Ephesios libri 3 [PL 26: 533)) (But if she wishes to serve Christ ~Dre than the world, then she will cease to l::e a woman and will l::e called a man. Both quoted and translated in Dinshaw 204-5, n.64.) For a woman, though, to l::e approved in Spain, she could be ol:edient or she coUld l::e "like a man." Focus For Teresa to l::e "like a man," however, was not simply a matter of established precedent. Teresa herself seems to have provided reason for the public confusion over her gender. Certainly, she appropriated traditionally l::elieved male nodes of communication, male subject matters, and male metaphors. In The Way of Perfection (1565), for instance, Teresa exhorts the nuns to avoid over-zealous expressions of affection because they are effeminate; and I shoUld not like you to l::e like that, in any way, my daughters; I want you to be strong nen. If you do all that is in you, the Lord will make you so manly that men themselves will be amazed at you. (Quoted in Peers, Mother 84)

PAGE 161

154 Peers elaborates the allegory in which Teresa's "'strong men' are her own daughters," and he tells us that "Her order for the day is one of daring and defiance" (85). Chapter 3 of Meditations shows similar urgings. Instructing the nuns to rid themselves of improper prudence in doing God's will, she tells them to join the Bride in requesting peace. Paradoxically, the request involves a kind of war: gue con todo ,, sosiego y guietud le da bateria (498, that with all tranquility and quietness makes war.) Though Teresa did quite a bit of spinning, she does not instruct her nuns to the spindle, but to the sword--of meditation. In chapter 2 of M?ditations, she warns the nuns about the false honors of the world, crediting humility by way of obedience as the rreans for battling praise. "Believe," she says, que es rnenester aqui estar con la espada en la rnano de la consideracion; aunque os parezca no os hace dano, no OS fieis de eso. (491) (that it is necessary for you to keep the sword of meditation in your hand; even if you think praise does not hurt you, do not trust in that.) Though much has been made about Teresa's predilection for the popular stories of caballeros (knights) prior to her entrance in the convent, -we should also be aware of the overwhelming numbers of painted knights and sculpted martyrs adorning all the Spanish cathedrals and churches. It takes little imajination to discover the aggressively colloquial Spanish nature empowering 1::oth physical and rrental battles and to see Teresa's battle imagery in tenns of her gendered spiritual warfare. Despite her "male" metaphors, Teresa's style might be described as "simple. 11 13 It is certainly true that she used the comnon, folk language of her day. Elizabeth Howe remarks that "Santa Teresa shows a predilection for colloquial prose" (41). Peers describes her writing

PAGE 162

155 as appealing to learned and unlearned alike. With a cloyingly patronizing manner, he explains: Ar,d that is why Teresa, the writer with the 11 s,,.eet disorder'' in her literary dress, with her errors, her digressions, her disconnected remarks, her ellipses, her irrelevant asides--yes, and her spelling mistakes! --captivates the ordinary person at the first attack. She is the ordinary :i;:erson's ideal author, and the not very skillful author's patron saint. (Mother 192) Perhaps Helmut A. Hatzfeld is a "not very skillful author" 1:::ecause he writes that Teresa's Vida is a "masterly treatise on prayer." He opposes the condemnation of "simple" by identifying Teresa's sentence structure and image-building as part of the way she writes on three levels--clarifying for self, for confessor, and for nuns the spiritual way (39)--and defining such a style as "anacoluthic concatenation," by which he means a de-emphasizing of metaphors in order to demonstrate larger symbols through a circular doctrinal presentation (41). Obviously, he relieves her nonsequential grarnmatical C'Cmponents 1::elie the ide::i.-linkinghe discerns in her style. If we acr..nowledge that her poetic imagery, theosophy, instruction, use of parable and rhetoric are parts of Teresa's literary legacy, we, too, without need of purple prose, could hardly describe her style as "simple." Her 500 extant letters might offer more proof on which to case our argument. In them--and rrore are discovered all the time--codes exist that not only display her flair for drama, but also disclose her vivid perception of the dangerous times in 'Nh.ich she lived. Helen Colvill believed that "Teresa's letters are harder to read than her books" (283). Though such a statement is still open to disagreement regarding the difficulty of Teresa's style, Colvill might mean that they contain unfathomable references. On that 1:::asis alone, we find

PAGE 163

156 Teresa's circumlocutions reinforced. Colvill adds that Teresa deals in abbreviations, colloquialisms, and enigmas the key to which has l:elonged neither to the enemy nor to the mocern reader; and she has fancy names for almost all the persons she mentions. Thus the discalced nuns are Butterflies (mariposas), and the friars, Eagles; the Observants are Birds of the Night, or Grasshoppers; the Inquisitors, Angels; and the Secular Clergy, Cats; Hormaneto, the Nuncio who was old, is Methuselah; and Covarrubias, the stately President of the Council, is Melchisidek. Jeronimo Gracian is Paul, or roore frequently, Elisha. Juan de la Cruz is Little Seneca; herself she calls Angela or Lorencia; and, most strange of all, the Lord Jesus Christ she speaks of as Jose. (283) As Colvill has indicated, these secret names which juxtapose nature, Bible, and philosophy, are only a few of the connections we may make in Teresa's writing today. Col vill reminds us that "It was an age of ingenuity; nay, of intrigue and double-dealing" (328). Perhaps, though, such evidence as the code-names together with the cultural interest in cabala and Teresa's image manipulations might be enough to ascribe to her words a hidden agEillda. Conceptions Let us turn, then, to the way the "code," which is to say the mystical rhetoric which Teresa writes, reveals the heights of thought to which she aspired. According to Osuna, the rrost important step in contemplative practice is acquiring a teacher to whan the novic:e may submit his will. The contemplative practices Teresa followed and taught required knowledgeable confessors who would use their own experience to aid the nuns' progress. Teresa, for instance, explained that she followed her confessor's instructions to write down her understanding of the Song in order to benefit the nuns of her Order. At the end of her Meditations manuscript Teresa wrote:

PAGE 164

157 Plegue al Senor no lo haya sido lo que he dicho, aunque ha sido par obedecer a quien me lo rnandado. (511) (Mny it please the Lord that I have net been presumptuous, even though I have written to obey he who commanded me ) We might note that the plea to God is coupled with a reminder that the writing was done as an exercise in obedience, thereby placing responsibility for the manuscript in the laps of the "those who commanded" and those in charge of its censorship. Weber writes that "Teresa's acts of verbal deference to male authority cannot always be taken at face value" (82). The same, of course, may be said of Margery Kempe's observation of her confessor's and bishop's behests, particularly in the injunction not to travel, the command to eat meat, and the postponement of her chaste marriage. But where in Margery, these deviations concern her will; in Teresa we might see them as rhetorical strategies intent on the survival of self and writing. Obeying by writing was only one of the stages of her labor. She also had to submit her manuscript to a kind of surgical examination for its doctrinal unity. Chapter 1 of Conceptions clearly identifies the procedure for the nuns: Y si no fuese a proposito de lo que quiero decir, tomolo yo a mi proposito; que no saliendo de lo que tiene la Iglesia y las santos (que para esto primero lo examinaran bien letrados que lo entiendan, que las veais vosotras) licencia nos da el Senor. (486) (And even if what I say is not what is being meant, I will read it in my own way; so that, without departing frcm that held by the Church and its saints, [well-lettered men will interrogate my writing from this point of view before you see it], the Lord gives us r:;errnission to act freely.) She makes it plain that even under the constraints of sixteenth-century Spain, Teresa relieves God gives her the freedom to

PAGE 165

158 say what she sees. She also trusts that when she gives her text to others, God will take care cf it. In a note scored through and, therefore, possibly self-cen::-.ored, Teresa contrasts God's judgement to men's: q sois justo juez y no como los jueces del mundo, q corro son y jos de Adan, y, en fin, todos varones, no ay virtud de rrujer q no tengan por sospecha. (Quoted in Weber 82) (Because You are a just judge, and not like the judges of the world, who, because they are Adam's children, and all men after all, there is no virtue in a woman that they will not hold suspect. My translation) She puts herself in the C-0d's higher court and iropeaches the hurran judges in two ways. First, using the oft-repeated devaluation of woman as descendant of Eve, she reverses the gender and shows hew human judges are already tainted by Adam's sin whic.~ mccks any judgement they make. Second, since the judges are male, they are already biased against women. 'The fact that she dces not specifically identify Eve or Mary allcws for an interpretation of the general superiority of women to rren--an idea net even p::!rmissible in rrodern Spainl 4 let alone the Siglo de Oro. Was it really possible that within the instruction she gave to nuns such subversive ideas were actively disseminated? If we are to believe J. Gracia.n's brief summary as translated by Peers, chapter 1 of Meditations "emphasizes the veneration with which the Scriptures must be read and enlarges upon the difficulties which arise in the interpretation of them" (Works: 352). If that was all she attempted, Teresa, could hardly be said to challenge traditional teaching. However, her camnents about reading and writing entertain the differe~ce between understanding as a form of pleasure and defending

PAGE 166

159 the truth as a fonn of work. Furthermore, those comments include some gender discrimination and irony. She states that wcmen, and such men who do not have tc defend the truth by their writing, do not need to work at uncerstanding God. Their rreditation should focus on what is~ ninguna manera se pueden entender (incomprehensible), not on what can be fleshed out by lowly intelligence. such "work" no es para mujeres, ni aun para hombres muchas cosas ("Conceptos" 484. Many things are not for women, nor for men either.). The idea, of course, is that to be truly close to God, which she sees as the particular plac:e for women, they should consider that which rnen cannot explain since God is beyond men's understanding. As Bride of Christ, each woman's "place" was at his side, a detail which ascribes one cultural advantage of her gender. If the men who read her explanation see it as indicative of women's inferiority, she adds that there are many things not meant for men, either. As for writing, which she identifies as trabajar (labor), it is simply the task of taking what el Senor nos diere (the Lord gives us) without tiring ourselves over what we do not have. She explains that the joy of such labor is in the words which come from God, whose single word alone may contain within itself mil misterios (a thousand mysteries) so that su principio no entendemos ("Conceptos" 484, we cannot understand His first principle). With this, she seems to underscore the general lack of comprehension despite claims to the contrary by the theologians of the day. Teresa refers to various explanations of ideas as mutually indecipherable whether in Greek and Latin or in Spanish. In Classical languages, she quips, such incomprehensibility is to be expected, but she notes that even the

PAGE 167

160 Spanish intellectuals' explanations are just as obscure! In both the theology of "play" and the cabalistic mysteries within a single -word of God, to which she directs the nuns' attention, we find a rejection of "reason." If we recall St. Augustine's De Doctrina elaborating that "what is sought with difficulty is discovered with more pleasure" {quoted in Dinshaw 24), we see the contrast of Teresa's nessage. She opposes the theologians of her day, too, even directly comparing them to Classical writers in their obscurity. It is no accidental rhetoric that begins by rentioning Plato's "first principle" and then refers to Classical languages. Nor, dare we say, do such references display an "ignorant female." Another exception Teresa takes to the teaching of her day is in the area of physical love. In her day, sensual response in marriage was not encouraged for its own sake but only for the purpose of procreation. P.s a consequence, sensuality on any level was sinful. Thus, the reading or discussion of the sensual language in the Song was an uncomfortable and confusing experience for many of her contemporaries. In chapter 1 she relates an anecdote that has ramifications for her entire work and may be the source of Jeronimo Gracian's re-titling Mi:!ditations to Conceptions of the Love of God. The anecdote concerns the reactions of laughter and disgust fran a congregation to a seimon on the Song preached on the 'Ihursday before Easter (Feast of the Last Supper) while the priest washed the feet of some of the people. The lesson Teresa promotes is a definition of humility in terms of love. She begins by calling attention to the reactions, continues by addressing the preacher's specific treatrrent

PAGE 168

161 of the topic, and ends by criticizing the prevailing interpretations of Scripture which the congregation's reactions revealed. Teresa wrote: He oido a algunas :i;:iersonas decir que antes huian de oirias. ( "Conceptos" 484) (I have heard some :i;:ieople say that they actually try not to listen to them.) She found this a great sorrow that affected everyone and added: Que como las cosa ponzonosas, que cuanto comen se vuelve en ponzoha .. aue de rrercedes tan grandes coma aqu1 ncs hace el Senor hemos de sacar rr~edos, y dar sentidos confo.rne al poco sentido del amor de Dias que se tiene. (484) (That like poisonous things that change all they eat into poison that from such great blessings as the Lord gives us .. we take only fears, and give such meanings [to those blessings] that natch our smallness of feeling for the love of God.) Thus, she shows concern for the prudities of :;::,ercepticn that limit God's love to the sane kind of "poison" found in the doctrine that marriage is only for procreation while ignoring or deflecting the bliss of the lovers in the Song. It may be true that Teresa agreed with human controls, but she, at least, wa.s able to credit the possibility of sensual cliss to God's lcve--an unlikely and controversial :i;:ierception among her male counterparts. We might recall that the apparently sensual condition of rapture was described among her contemporaries as demonic IX)ssession, and any kind of locution, vision, or internal prompting was first examined for its Satanic connection. Weber says that "the Inquisition -was roving to reaffirm the traditional ecclesiastical association between wom:n's power and women's fallen sexuality" (45). Fram such a "poison" Teresa kept her nuns safe by de-romanticizing the contemplative trance--she

PAGE 169

162 prescribed a l::etter diet and a more healthy routine to those who experienced it--and by describing to others such a condition as a "female" symptan of melancholia. In this manner, she defused the charge of satanic power over women, but since rren -were not "weak" they were still subject to demonic possession. Returning to her anecdotal discussion, Teresa ascribed the general population's inexperience in loving as the cause for its inaccurate observation of God's ways. Aware that many people project their own standards onto others, she takes the Last Supper's therre of "eating God"--imbibing his love--and explains that -we poison what we eat by our poisonous thoughts. By applying that culture's sexual mores onto the Song, the congregation missed the nain idea of the sermon. By applying their cultural standards of love to God, people misinterpret God's love and thereby poison it. Her example of such poisonous misinterpretation was the inappropriate laughter of the congregation when the priest was describing the Bride's joy from the Song: Y huro tanta risa y fue tan rnal tornado lo que di jo porque hablaba de arnar que yo estaba espantada. (485) (And there w-as such laughter and it [the sermon] was so badly taken because, as I said, he was speaking of love that I was astounded.) Teresa wanted her nuns to avoid such a misunderstanding of God's love so she recommended a course of acticn in her first chapter that included eleven points. She delivered the first four points as a group early in chapter 1 then sprinkled the last six throughout the rest of the c..liapter:

PAGE 170

163 1. not to stop and think about more than she had said 2. not to be surprised at the tender words which pass between God and the S0l1l 3. to pause and reflect upon the strength of love which God showed in that it brought him suffering 4. to question any amazement at God's nodes of e..-xpression. (485) Though these points appear to fulfill the opinion of rrale contemporaries that for a woman such things are "impossible for her to read" and "must remain hidden from her" (Dinshaw 53), Teresa does not stop at the ad'IlOnition of point 1 "not to stop and think." Here we might recognize paralipsis, useful for its indirect JIEans of calling attention to that which though denied is exactly what others should notice, causing her reader/listener to do the exact opposite of what she has been told to do. By the age of fifty-nine, at the completion of "Conceptos, Teresa must have known that to command someone "not to think" causes her to do just that. Points two and four employ her authoritative discouragement of enotional overreaction and encourage the nuns to her view that God makes use of sensual language. Point three appropriates the familiar form of feminine love--suffering--attaches it to God, the father, an unfamiliar concept, and transforms it into strength! Next, Teresa adds the humorous acknowledgement that los doctores escribieron rnuchas exposiciones, y gue aun no acaban de darle (486. The Doctors have written many expositions [ on the Song], and they still have been lll1able to give them a definite conclusion.). '!his

PAGE 171

164 enlargement of the open-ended nature of interpretation vividly parades the inability of the male theologians to perform according to their own rulcs--rules of sin9ularity, l:::cundaries, and closure. Dinshaw descril:es for us today the feeling that reading like a man invokes structures of authority in order to order the disorder, to stop the restless desire represented and enacted by their texts, to find rest. (51). Both Dinshaw and Teresa rrake some miniscule concessions after such aggressive staterrents, then surge forward again in their respective feminist battles. Dinshaw accuses the male reader of achieving his "rest" at the expense of "constituting the feminine as disruptive" (51). Recalling Teresa's claim to the licencia which God gives to her interpretation, we note her assertion cf legitimacy to her conceptions. Just as the presence of I'-:ar9ery Kempe's cries were a lesson of tolerance--a love for the human--instead of embarrassment. So were Teresa's points made to teach her nuns to avoid misunderstanding God's love. Seven more of her eleven points remain in chapter 1. The fifth point compares a woman's enjoyment of God's riches to that of the shepherd boy "wondering" in the presence of the king: Que tamooco ne hemos de @edar las nrujeres tan fuera de gozar las riquezas del Senor. (486) (So also we women should not keep frcm enjoying the Lord's riches.) The rreaning of "God's riches" is ambiguous. Two possibilities include the more obvious enjoyment of contemplative prayer, about which Teresa

PAGE 172

165 ostensibly instructs, and the not-so-obvious controversial feminist exposition of Scripture, in which Teresa seems to re engaged. Her sixth point describes the value of studying the Song, which would remain hers even if God should not grant her success in writing about it. Seventh, she dramatically involves herself in theological disputation when she identifies the Bride as speaking to another "person," which happens to re Christ's human nature, rather than divine. In her eighth point, Teresa insinuates her divine revelation when she asserts that she has heard few previous expositions on the words she addresses and denies that she can remember those she heard. Her ninth point asserts the equality which the nuns have in addressing God and uses as proof the Bride's opening line, "let him kiss ne with a kiss of his mouth." Furthermore, she makes use of hYP9Phora, which is a figure that addresses projected adversarial arguments, and she identifies such arguments as erroneous ad hominem attacks. In her tenth point Teresa compares her rehavior to the Bride who is uninterested in the many meanings of the "kiss" request, but < instead delights in the words themselves recause s1, gue nose lo guita el Senor (487. Yes, that is something that the Lord does not forbid her). To the shepherd boy, also, Teresa compares herself because of her other 11 wonderings 11 about communion and about the "kiss" as sign of friendship. Teresa's eleventh and last point ends the chapter by actualizing her relief that any nun can address God as the Bride does. She says: i,Que nejor cosa podemos pedir, que lo que yo os pido, .... Senor mio, que re de1s esta paz con reso de vuestra boca? ("Conceptos" 487)

PAGE 173

166 (What better thing could -we ask, than what I ask you, my lord, that you give ne this peace with a kiss of your IOOuth?) Thus Teresa shows herself as outside the norm and belittled; but at the sane tine her eleven points encourage an approach to God that challenge both the hierarchy's "obscurity" and its gendered elitism. According to Jeroni.IOO Graci~s epigraph as translated by Peers, chapter 2 tells of "nine kinds of false peace offered to the soul by the world, the flesh and the devil" (Works: 352). Within the text Teresa discusses worldly o:mpanions, slackness, wealth, praise, physical indulgence, and tender feelings as conspiracies of "false peace." Of 100re interest, though, are the rhetorical questions which she addresses to the nuns: lQue hacemos los religiosos en el ronasterio? lA que dejamos el mundo? lA que veniIOOs? lEn que mejor nos podemos anplear que hacer aposentos en nuestras almas a nuestro Esposo y llegar a tiempo, que le podaIOOs decir que nos de beso con su boca? (489) (What are -we religious doing in the 100nastery? For what reason did -we leave the world? To what did -we cane? In what better way can -we employ ourselves than making rooms in our souls available for our Bridegroom's timely arrival, that will enable us to ask for a kiss with his routh?) Through such questioning, Teresa reminds them of their spiritual freedom, wherein each woman prepares herself, as the male religious do,--working on her own souJ.--without obligation to a man or to a family. Recalling St. Bernard's echo of the Socratic maxim to "Know thyself" and Margery Kempe's official relinquishment of family obligations, Teresa follows the tradition. But in Spain at the time such individualism was suspect. In 1558, for instance, I:bna Marina de

PAGE 174

167 Guevara, a sub-prioress at the Convent of Our Lady of Bethlehem in Valladolid, prior to her execution by the Inquisition -wrote that "She had heard on many occasions that the only way to God was to know oneself" (Hroch and Skyvova 113). Just as imaginative fantasy was part of Bernard's persuasion as he encouraged his monks to experience the love of the Bride and Margery's dramatic visions enabled her to participate in Christ's life, so Teresa engages each of her nuns in the Bride's position--perhaps better than the Bride because the Spouse was each one's O'Wn idea of perfection. Both before and after the former quotation, Teresa refers to the life of nuns in the crmvent, 1::ut the words los religiosos refer to both men and women religious. The inclusion of both genders indicates the options of the women, specifically, that they were to be manly in their behavior using the sword of contemplation courageously rather than effeminately and that they were brides of Christ and, as such, each woman's place was close to God. Because of their enclosure, they enjoyed an uncommon reasure of independence. Not only were they taught by women, but their male confessors who visited their spiritual lives as unbodied voices behind screens15 were prepared in the doctrine of the foundress, Teresa. Two things only were required of the nuns: they were to follow the Order's Rule and to read Teresa's 'WOrks. For neither of the two did they need money. Since the nuns' contemplative preparation wuld culminate in the request for the "kiss," Teresa's discussion returns them to the Song. The Scripture, as with Bernard's sermons, is her ostensible subject, but she uses it more as her vehicle for instruction. Again, she reminds them of their independence in the convent:

PAGE 175

168 I,, IOh, h1Jas nuas, que tenemos gran estado, que no hay quien nos quite decir esta palabra a nuestro Esposo, pues le tornamos portal cuando hicirnos profesi6n, sino nosotras misrnas! (489) (Oh my daughters, that we have such a great situation, that there is no one to forbid us to say this word [to ask for a kiss] to our Spouse--since we took him as such when we made our vow--only ourselves!) Even though Teresa always called the nuns to outward obedience, she seemed to celebrate the religious freedc:m of these women to approach God on their own terms and outside the rules of others. A way that she ensured such freedom was to embrace povertyl6. She saw the slavery of wealth as the duty to apportion it to the needy, for which rich feOple -were accountable to God. She told the nuns: Son esclavos estos, y vosotras senoras (490; they [the wealthy] are slaves, but you are your own warren) In The Book of the Foundations, Teresa describes how she had ensured such autonomy. Despite pressures, she had insisted on her Order's poverty, or lack of endowment. A consequence of such detachment was that the nuns were not committed to the endless rounds of vocal prayer that benefactors of the Church expected of religious. 'lb.us, they were free to contemplate. The prire of such freedom, though, was the suspicions of a society which connected dia~olical possession to women with intellectual abilities and to women who pursued interior prayer. The surrounding co:rmnunity must also have resented the idea that it could not validate its existenre in the heard prayers of that religious house. Another factor affecting community response to the reformed Order at this time was the inordinate numbers of rrendicant religious in Spain. St. Francis's call to poverty 17 was heeded by thousands. Spain could little afford the support such religious required. Yet, Teresa always

PAGE 176

169 had supporters, and this, too, added resentment. Weber cites Marquez Villanueva's remark that the wealth and converse background of Teresa's supporters "contributed to the hostility tcward the carmelite refonn" (125). It would seem that Teresa "humbly" opposed the misogyny, the anti-contemplation, and the anti-semitism of her day. Poverty insured the environment of inde!=Ildence, rut patterns of independent thought also had to be taught in order to counteract the culturally learned gendered sul::servience. saint Teresa's legacy taught such habits of thought. We might consider one result of the RefoI'hlation in England. Antonia Fraser reports that Catholic girls were sent to convents outside England in the 1600s because the position of the wow.an teacher had not recovered frcm the collapse of the nunneries These girls also found a kind of independence unknown to their sisters still at hoIIE [in England]. (124) Teresa sought to empower women. Not only did she instruct about pitfalls to independence, but she also showed the nuns how to cope with them. One such pitfall has alw-ays been flattery. Teresa saw any praise as dangerous flattery and taught the nu.~s to be suspicious of it. To ann them against it, she net only described the "sword of meditation," but also the sound of laughter: Jamas el mundo ensalza sino pcu;-a l:ajar, si son hijos de Dias las ensalzados Solia afligirIIE mucho de ver tanta ceguedad en estas alabanzas, y ya IIE r10, como s1 viese hablar un loco. (490-91) {Never does the world exalt except to lower, especially if they are children of God it praises I used to feel quite upset seeing such blindness in these praises, and now I laugh as if I were watching someone speaking in madness. )

PAGE 177

170 Such instruction shows a use for laughter that denies St. Bernard's condemnation of it in his treatise "On the Steps of Humility and Pride" where step 3 of pride describes "laughing aoout nothing; foolish rrerriment" as a kind of S'Jnthetic consolation (Bernard 131). Teresa seeks to remove the nuns fran the false security praise brings but emphasizes further the necessity for keeping their wits about them since the one who laughs is not the "mad" one. As she continues her instruction under the guise of the Bride's request, Teresa identifies courage as the quality which empowered the request. For her, weakness is l::eing content with less than a kiss, and she instructs the nuns: gue siempre vuestros pensamientos vayan animosos (492, that always should your thoughts carry the spirit of courage). With such a spirit, she assures them, they will l::e able to perfonn courageous acts. Though Margery's courage enabled her to face her trials, to go on pilgrimages, to live in poverty, to face fears of fire and water, and Teresa had similar stories to tell; instead, she remarks on the courage everyday work requires. God's grace, she says, enables her thoughts to cover so much infonnation that she l::elieves that she will never l::e able to finish writing what she knows, even though she is a woman: ,( que ser1a nunca acabar, me parece, las que yo he entendido, con ser mujer. (494) (that I would never finish, it seems to rre, all that I understand, even l::eing a woman.) The gendered tag ending may grate upon the roodern sensibility, but the very next sentence oils the reading. She says that if she has such understanding and such an amount to say and produce, how much rrore should it l::e true of her confessors and those men who specialize in

PAGE 178

171 such study. By way of contrast and l::eneath the mantle of humility, Teresa challenges rrales in their authority and in their learning to match her diligence in thought. She has opposed their perception that a woman could not think, let alone think independently. Concluding chapter 2, Teresa knots the various independency lessons together in two strands. First, she relates a gossipy anecdote about a worldly woman who appeared saintly, but was too concerned with honra (reputation). SUch a concern was typical of the culture, in general, as witnessed in the sixteenth-c8ntury contemporary Spanish novel, I.azarillo de Tormes,18 which satirized anphasis on outer appearance and reputation particularly in the hidalgo (nobleman) chapter whose servant had to steal for them both 1:ecause he refused to work, beg, or sell his fine clothes. It was a typical concern of St. Teresa, specifically, 1:ecause a person boasted of honra if her blood waS not "tainted" by Jewish ancestry Second, Teresa contrasts the nuns in the convent with those who live "in the world." She .rrentions that even if the latter would really like to know themselves, they do not because they do not get the same practice in rrortification. 'lhe practises of mortification were severe in the carmelite monasteries, but it is difficult not to think of Margery Kempe's rrany mortifications, being seduced then rudely rejected, being ostracized, being evicted from mass, 1:eing put off a ship, among others. Teresa puts the case of honor before the nuns and adds that even if one were unconcerned with honra, one might 1:e unwilling to face the dangers inherent in bringing others to God, for on such a path hay grandes enemigos (493, there are powerful enemies). 'lhe enemigos to -which

PAGE 179

172 Teresa refers might have been political or personal, but it is doubtful that she means the devil since she refers to him usually as el demonic (488). Bringing women, as culturally debased individuals, to a realization of their own worth through a model fran their own gender, Teresa encouraged them to enjoy the words of Scripture on their own tenns, to think independently, to have courage, to believe that they, too, could have intimate communion with the God of IIEI1. This road, we might agree, could well re a road fraught with enemies. Weber says: Teresa had undoubtedly taken risks in the late 1560s when she began her "Meditations," and the risJr..s were considerably greater after the Discalced lost papal support. It seem.5 clear, nonetheless, that Teresa, who fcund herself on the frontiers of contemporary orthodoxy, nevertheless, felt the idea of spiritual marriage so crucial that she was willing to continue to take these risks. (121) Though Weber inspires greater study of Teresa's rhetoric because she sees Teresa on the "frontiers," she sees Teresa's language as winning a place solely for herself: Her rhetoric of femininity, which served her awn needs of self-assertion so successfully, also paradoxically sanctioned the paternalistic authority of the Church over its daughters and reinforced the ideology of women's intellectual and spiritual subordination. With her golden pen [literally, wooden; figuratively, persuasive] she won a public voice for herself, if not for other wo:rren. (165) SU.ch a view is untenable in light of Teresa's "humble" instruction to women to resist by thinking for themselves. That her only rrotivel9 for tbe risks she took was that the Song might be read and appreciated on its erotic level in order to rrake people conscious of God's unrestricted love, is to ignore Teresa's knowledge of the defamation in the te.rm "ignorant female" and her alertness to the censor-the

PAGE 180

173 very one whose eyes could be blinded by the voluptuousness of the Bride so that he would not read Teresa's rressages of motherly subversion. Teresa was leading others to the independence she found for herself. Though she has mde rrany parallels between the nuns and the Bride, Teresa reminds than that religious life was not, after all, the kind of peace which the Bride requested. She defines that "peace" as: aquella santa paz, que hace aventurar al alRB a ponerse a guerra C'On todos los del mundo, quedando ella C'On tcda seguridad y pacffica. (496) (that holy peace, that causes the soUl to make ~ar against those of the world, while remaining herself in total security and peace.) "Making war aainst the world" is the paradoxical result of the security Teresa feels--the peace--which her mystical experience brings. In this chapter 3, then, she describes the mystical "union" as teaching the Bride a faith that transcends "understanding." Waxing ecstatic, Teresa cries: ioh amor fuerte de Dies! Oh dichosa alma que ha llegado a alcanzar esta oaz de su Dies, que este senoreada sabre todos los trabajos y peligros del mundo, que ninguno teme. (497) (Oh the loving strength of God! Oh the fortunate soul who has attained this peace fran her God, that she is mistress over all the workings and dangers of the world, so that no one does she fear!) She has described a lmowledge of life that trusts God. In the midst of political machinations,20 Inquisitorial punishments, intellectual foment bro~ght in with Erasmian works and Luther's questions, and the total subservience of women and children to rren, she Jmew God. That Jmowledge brought her C'Ourage and peace, and it is the Jmowledge that she transmitted to her nuns. '!be sense of security thus achieved can

PAGE 181

174 l::e compared to the safety--or degree of invulnerability--Margery Kempe achieved through her strategy of fear. Just as Margery's husband feared death if he disturbed her Jesus-granted chastity, so must those who wanted to cppose Teresa have feared the faith wherein she walked with God. At this point in the work, Teresa encourages her nuns to go beyond the "humility" enjoined upon them by their hierarchical superiors. She sees "humility" as working through the imaginations of t~.e nuns and promoting feelings of unworthiness, which she finds inhibiting to their progress. She tells them: dar de mano a las razones del entendimientc ya vuestra flaqueza, para no dar lugar a que crezca ron pensar si sera si no sera, quiz.a por mis pecados no merecere yo que me de fortaleza romo a otras ha dado. No es ahora tiempo de pensar vuestros pecados, que no es con sazon esa humilidad. (497) (Do not heed the reasons from your understanding and your weakness, and do not permit the thoughts of inadequacy, that allow one to think so much of one's sins that God would not grant courage as he has given others. Now is not the time to think of one I s sins; this is not the season for humility.) So, for all Teresa's rhetoric of humility, we find that when she knew she must declare war on the worldly opinions of the men of her day, she knew that humility was inadequate armor, and she passed this new thought on to her followers. Apart from the descriptions of mystical union and urgings to courage, chapter 3 publicly requires the nuns to reappropriate the feminine metaphor of the Bride :rrore strongly than anywhere else in this rnan~script. Teresa exhorts them not to end their sueno de esta vida con tantc seso (498, dream of this life in the dried up sense of

PAGE 182

175 reason). Instead, she urges them to join the Bride's request for a peace that conq1.:ers worlc":ly fears with sosiego y guietud le da bated.a ("Conceptos" 4S8, weapons of quietness and tranquility). She urged them to a feminine battle wherein they could maintain their awn serenity. This nonviolent approach, it can readily l:e seen, is comparable to that used by Gandhi against British imperialists and Martin Luther King against American white supremacists. The difference is that Gandhi and King used their approach on l:ehalf of their races, but Teresa usec. it on behalf of her commcnly devalued and culturally subjugated gender. Teresa rooved to strengthen the nuns in their self-evaluation of their gender. She recalled the Jesus of the Garden--one who had experienced humanity's weakness--and reminded them that the woman (his mother) l::oth knew her son's pain and cid not fall asleep at the foot of the Cross, as the male apostles had done in the Garden: ., pues con mas razcn se quejara a su Madre y Senora nuestra cuandc estaba al pie de la cruz y no dormida. (499) (so with rrore reason, his Mother, and our Lady, ~oans when she was at the foot of the Cross, and not sleeping.) Mention of the superiority of the Virgin to the apostolic nen, recalled to Teresa that the Virgin had fortified herself in her lower position to her Sen which was l:eneath his Cross--had, indeed, err~raced humility with C-cd--and had been glorified. Teresa's language l:ecomes rrore ecstatic as she nears the end of chapter 3. An eerie, very human, moment occurs, though, as she begs not to l:e silenced. She also speaks of the trabajos, sufriendo ca.:a a1a injurias (trials, torments, and daily sufferings) that must l:::e

PAGE 183

176 endured and asks for God's help gue no hava cosa gue me impida pueda yo decir (that nothing stops rre from saying) "son mejores tus pechos y mas sabrosas 9ue el vino" (500, "Your breasts are better than wine"). In chapter 4 her language becomes particularly erotic as it mingles with the language of the Song itself, and she describes the movement from the Prayer of Quiet21 to the mystical mion as a pervasion of fragrance. She uses ocular demonstration of the Bride suspended as if levitating and nursing at God's breasts.22 Here we cannot trust Peers' translation. The Bride, Teresa says: Le parece se queda suspendida en aquellos divines brazes, y arrimada a aquel sagrado costado y aquellos pechos divines. No sabe mas de [que] gozar, sustentada con aquella leche divina que lava criando su Esposo. (501) and Peers translates [She] seems to be suspended in those Divine arms and dra-wn near to that sacred side and to those Divine breasts. Sustained by that Di vine mill<: with which her Spouse nourishes her and growing in grace so that she can do nothing but rejoice. (Works 384) For whatever reason, and censorship may l:e among them, Peers elides the erotic implications of Teresa's language. Teresa's use of criando fran the verb criar has really not been explored by Peers. We may recall Margery Kempe's use of creatur and its I.atin connections with "creature," "creating," and "nursing." The Spanish verb means: to nurse; to raise; to bring up. Peers writes "nourishes." The difference identifies the action as coming fran the Bride or coming fran the Bridegroom. If the Bride "nurses," her active sucking draws the milk fran the Bridegroan. If the Bridegroan "nourishes," the Bride passively receives. Certainly, Peers captures the intent of lactation,

PAGE 184

177 but he foregoes the shock effect of a gro~n woman nursing at the breasts of a male whose milk inebriates her. This reading is part of an older tradition that "makes theologians wince," according to Eleanor M::Laughlin (246-47). The tradition is explored fully in Carolyn Bynum's thesis of God/Jesus as mother. She describes the lactating rretaphor used by Anselm of Canterbury, Julian of Norwich, William of St. Thierry, but especially as used by St. Bernard of Clairvaux in his letters. For instance, Bynum quotes fran his Letter 322: "Suck not so much the wounds as the breasts of the Crucified. He will l:e your mother, and you will l:e his son" (117).23 In a similar vein, Teresa rrerges the two persons (father and sen) through her levitation and lactation images and the reference to the side of Jesus pierced on the Cross. God, after all, is credited with "taking up" at least two holy persons such as Enoch (Gen 5: 2~) and Elijah (2 Kings 2: 11), and Jesus's F,Osition on the cross was also "up." Chapter 4 not only erupts with eccentric, albeit traditional, theology, but also oscillates consciousness among human and soul, self and other, awareness and unawareness, Bride/child/mother/teacher, and contemplation and action. Teresa assumes various roles--Soul, Bride, / and child--and identifies the Bridegroom as Esposo mio (my husband). She describes drinking his precious wine which brings with it a kind of oblivion: precioso vino rre dais, que con sola una gota ire hace olvidar de todo lo criado, y salir de las criaturas y de mi. (501)

PAGE 185

178 (You give ne your precious wine, one drop of which makes ne forget everything, and withdraw from all creatures.) From nursing child to inebriated bride, Teresa gradually removes herself fran the drama she presents and resumes her mother/teacher ., role, easily discerned when she calls the nuns hijas mias (my daughters). Her next two rhetorical mves are sanewhat surprising. First, in an apparent gane of one-upmanship, she contrasts what she says to what St. PaUl said. Second, she identifies spiritual recompense as starting in this world. Both roves challenge the Church traditions of Pauline inviolation and worldly suffering. Quoting St. Paul's Letter to the Romans which says "All the trials of the world are not worthy to be compared with the glory for which we hope" (8: 18), Teresa adds: yo digo que no son dignos No tiene canparici6n, a ml paracer, ni se puede nerecer un regalo tan regalado de Nuestro Senor, una union tan unida, un amor tan dado a en.tender, ya gustar con las bajezas de las cosas del mundo. :Donosos son tus trabajos para canpararlo a esto! (502) ( I say that they are unworthy They have no canparison, it seems to me, nor can the base things of the world nerit a gift such as our lord's gift, a union so unified, a love so given to understanding, and to happiness. Fine things are the labors of this world cooipared to this!) By dialogue and by arousal, rhetorical nethods employing the speech of another, treating it with emotion, and causing a transferral of that emotion to the audience, Teresa redefines what St. Paul said to suit her purposes and extends his hyperbole. Perhaps Teresa did not nean to belittle St. Paul's words, but she does outdo them with increasing emphasis until the final ironic camnent. Not content with such

PAGE 186

179 umbrage, she tells Christians to wake up and feel God's love .!!Q1!, not in the next world: no nos guarda para la otra vida el prernio de amarle; en esta cornienza la paga. (502) (He does not keep our reward for loving Hirn until the other life. He begins His recanpense in this one.) In so startling a way does St. Teresa point out the difference l:etween medieval and renaissance thought! Ianonstrating the Erasrnian influence of the imnediacy of God's rewards in this life, she directs the nuns away frcm the dogmatic, Inquisitorial fervor of a crowning reward only in heaven. As she concludes chapter 4, Teresa's narration transforms her speaking voice frcm the Bride who corranents on the Spouse's gifts to a nun speaking to her he.nnanas (sisters), to an identification with the sinner, who iretamorphizing into a small worm camrrents on the Bride, to return to the speaking voice of the Bride herself: Ya yo veo. Esposo rnio, que Vos sois para rnf Par cierto, herrnanas, que nose c6rno paso de aquf. lEn que sere para Vos, mi Dias? lQue puede hacer por Vos quien se di6 tan ma.la maria? Perder las irercedes que ire habeis hecho. lQue se podfa esperar de sus servicios? Y ya que con vuestro favor haga alga, mirad que puede hacer un gusanillo; l para que le ha rnenester un poderoso Dias? ("Conceptos" 502-3) (Now I see. My Spouse, that you are mine For certain, sisters, that I do not know how this happened. In what way am I Yours, my God? What can one do for You whom I have given such evil manna? I can only lose the graces that you have given ire. What could you hope from your services? And since with your favor I could do something, look at what is l,X)ssible for a small worm; why would a powerful God need it?) The narrative persona-switching is fast and, perhaps, hides the very important theological issues she raises, questions which Peers elides when he translates rnana as "things" and changes sus servicios (your

PAGE 187

180 services) to indicate the "services" of the penitent (Works 387). Finally, she invites the nuns, now addressed as her daughters, to join her exclarnaticn: "My Eeloved to rre and I to my Beloved!" (Song 2:16; 7:10). Li these narrative transformations, Teresa has solved her earlier difficulty of ide.-itity by showing how to forget "self" and by resolving service through action. Thus, Teresa demonstrates t.,at for her the result of contemplation is action. In chapter 5 Teresa examines contemplation through the language of the senses and begins to expand on the tree rretaphor to be treated most fully in chapter 6. As is typical of her treatment of the Song, she quotes a passage and uses it to launch into either instruction or explanation. Seemingly unaware of her rhetorical devices and by what they mistakenly take to be the superiority of their knowledge to that of this writing woman's, irost critics have censured her style by patronizing defamation. One of her ::rost often used ar_d, criticized, devices is reduplication whic.'1 repeats words for amplification or appeal. For instance, Teresa quotes the Bride's sensual description: I sat devm under the shadow of him whan I desired and his fruit is sweet to my palate. The King brought rre into the cellar of wine and set in order charity in me. (Song 2:3-4) Fellowing this quotation, Teresa repeats the first sentence. This habit of calling attention to what are generally described as writing "faults" is one reason for critical attention. She frequently reir.arks in all her works that she does not remember what she has already written, so the audience shoUld forgive any repetition they perceive. Since her te."'tt of Meditations was meant

PAGE 188

181 to J::e reac aloud to the ccrnmunity, repetitions would have been necessarJ rhetoric to emphasize certain points. As an expert on the Spanish mystics, though, Peers' condescending rexrark represents a prevalent opinion: She is always afraid of repeating herself or of losing the thread of her writing-and apparently it never occurred to her that the J::est way to avoid this woUld J::e to reread her preceding page. (Mother 191) "Apparently" Peers, too, was subject to the same kind of avoidance. In his 1927 edition Peers had quoted Teresa frc:m her Way of Perfection as saying: since I wrote the last pages, and I have no opportunity to return to the book, so that I cannot remember what I said m1less I read it all over. To save time I shall have to write what comes fran my mind, without any proper connection. (Studies 211, my anphasis) Since Peers obviously had not "read over" his preceding edition of 1927, in 1946 he had not recalled that it had "occurred" to Teresa to "read over" her work, and she had dismissed it, wisely or unwisely, due to her schedUle. The possibility exists that Teresa's statement was another defensive posture intended for the Inquisition censor; we may never know. Material was known to J::e inserted in letters for the express purpose of confounding the censor.24 Helen Colvill refers to one of Teresa's letters to Lorenzo, her brother, as saying "that life is not long enough for that [reading over what she had written]" (quoted on 331). Returning to Teresa's Song quotation, we shoUld note her employment of rhetorical reduplication. The proximity of the lines prevents her audience's :rremory loss. Working toward accumulation, the collection of scattered points, she has already treated the second

PAGE 189

182 sentence of this Song quotation in chapter 4 and was preparing the situation for the first sentence. In her chapter 5 her vivid description of the Song's first sentence, again, employs ocular demonstration so that the form of her explanation is as sensual as its subject. The question, then, of the saint's composing abilities seems rrore a question of canposing fashion, rather than expertise. For instance, Jeronimo Gracian rewrote some of her sentences and "corrected" her spelling. It was, however, Fray Luis de Leon, an unquestioned scholar at sa.1amanca and subsequent editor, who restored her rolloquialisms and retained what her friend, Jeronimo Gracian, saw as blunders. According to Colvill, Fray Luis de Leon, thus, reasserted "the simplicity and strength which made the writings so much greater than Teresa knew." Furthermore, Helen Colvin adds, Teresa helped to set the castilian language away fran artificiality and bcxnbast, and with unenlightened patronage Colvill calls that "proud work for a woman!" (331). Chapter 5, as we have noted, deals with the senses of touch and taste as the Bride is seated, given "sweet" fruit, and is brought to the wine cellar, though sight--in this case, of the shadow--is always present in Teresa's metaphoric language. Teresa attends to the Bride's comparison of God to an apple tree by way of his "shade" and the "sweetness" of his fruit. The saint directs the nuns to savor the words of the song and to think about the different kinds of food to which they might canpare God. In this manner, Teresa converts the abstraction of God into a taste which is whatever the nuns want it to

PAGE 190

183 be. Furthermore, she invokes the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, quoting Gabriel's words: "The power of the l-bst High shall overshadow thee" (Luke 1: 35). The shade of the apple tree, thus, becomes the impregnating "power" or mystical cloud which envelops the soul: con una sanbra y manera de nute de la Divinidad, de donde vienen influencias al alma, y roc1o tan deleitoso, que bien con raz6n quitan el cansancio que le han dado las cosas del rundo. (504} (with a shadow and manner of the cloud of God, from which the influences on the soul come, and sprinkle so delightfully, that with good reason they free it [the soul] from the world-weariness brought by things.} Mergi:o]' the Scriptural "manna," which were sweet tasting droppings sprinkled down that nourished the Hebrews in the midst of their worldly desert, with the mystical "cloud," Teresa blends Hebrew dogma with Dionysiun tradition to present a sensual description of the unitive experience through form and content. Though she says that to describe the union nose puede decir, ni es posible ( 11 Conceptos 11 504; she is unable to say, nor is it possible}, she still describes it in terms of sweet food given, without the Bride's own labor at this point, beneath the protective power of the shadow/tree. Though the tree of knowledge and the tree of life have not l::een specifically named in Genesis, the fruit has been otherwise attributed to pomegranates, figs, and apples. The theological issue is not so much the type of trees, but what they represent. Central is the issue of original sin. In the mythic tradition, to pomegranates l::elong the seeds of wisdom, desire for which may produce pride; to figs belong the seeds of sexuality, desire for which nay produce lust; to apples belong the seeds of beauty, desire for which may produce false gods.

PAGE 191

184 At stake is the Hebrew concept of wisdom, first-hand experienre that allows one's discernment of the innate forces which Freud termed the "pleasure principle" and gives one the ability to avoid the enticement away from life. To the Song l:elong the apple trees where love in the truth of Bride and Bridegroan seduces the reader to the true love, 'Which to a reliever is God. It is a way for Teresa's very human audience to move toward the Bernardine "reality," that movement that must go from carnal to spiritual. By inverting gender roles and reintroducing the pleasure of life as the love of God, Teresa rescues, what was for her the infamous apple tree of Genesis, the symbol of: forbidden fruit, disol:edience to the I.aw, feminine evil, sexual license, expulsion fran Paradise, male superiority, labor. "He," God, the teloved Spouse, offers "her," the Bride-Soul, the apple--fruit of knowledge: conception--without any labor on "her" part. It is as if she were the first person in Paradise without Adam, and God was enough for her. The union is "love" and occurs within a "dark" vision, not within the light. Furthermore, Teresa defines 11 meditation" as enjoying the fruit that Christ had nurtured when he watered the tree with his blood: / vea y goce del fruto que saco Jesucr1sto Senor Nuestro de SU Pasion, regando este arbol con SU sangre preciosa con tan admirable aroor! (504) ([The soul] sees and enjoys that fruit which Jesus Christ plucked by his Passion, watering this tree with his precious blood [shed] with such admirable love.) With the periphrasis, a circumlocution 'Which changes her tree of Genesis to the Christian Crucifix.ion, Teresa teaches salvation theory to wcmen through that 'Which is m::>st familiar to them-love sacrifice.

PAGE 192

185 She explains that salvaticn is a God-union with the feminine soul, which God "stays up" with apples: Mantienela con manzanas (504). Peers notes this as an inexact quotation fran Cant 2:5, which reads: fulcite re floribus stipate rre malis quia amore langueo (Quoted in Matter xviii) (support me with flowers, surround rre with apples, for I languish in your love. Matter xviii-xix; my emphasis.) Again, the "error" to which Peers' scholarship calls our attention is probably intentional rhetoric. In chapter 3 following reference to the Jesus of the Garden, her text discussed the "fragrance" attenuating mystical union prior to the Bride's nourishirent frcm the Divine breasts and had quoted the Song "exactly." Appropriately for an analogous agricultural mode of development, flowers precede apples. The nourishment of the tree parallels the nourishment of the soul at the breasts in chapter 4. As the soul matures, so, then, does the tree. Chapter 6 opens with the image of the soul resting under the tree's shadow. Teresa, too, seems to sit back and reflect upon the questions 100st frequently addressed to contemplatives. She uses, as basis for her organization, the Song's description of ordering love in the Bride: "The king brought rre into the cellar of wine and set in order charity in me" (Cant 2: 4). Because she explains her answers to questions of contemplatives, discusses courage and love, and describes feminine submission in terms of a standard of humility advised for everyone, this chapter is the nost intellectually challenging of the seven.25

PAGE 193

186 As we approach this reading of Teresa's chapter, we might recall the brief discussion concerning Peers' translation of criar to nourishment. The difference of "nursing" to "nourishment," we remerober is the difference of activity to passivity, and this is the very difference which Teresa now describes between the Bridegroom and the Bride-his capacity to give and her capacity to take. Teresa explains the untiring ability of the Bridegroom to give gifts, such as: trabajos (trials), persecuciones (persecutions), and enfermedades (infirmities) (505). Another "gift" expands the Bride's capacity to take. Teresa relates an ironic, personal anecdote when, as a young girl, she had told God that perhaps she would rather not have as many gifts as he sent her, but came to realize the "gifts" of strength and patience with which he had added to the trials.26 Tnus, Teresa demonstrates that one's belief in one's own capacity answers the question most frequently asked of conteroplatives: Why should this perscn receive God's presence and not another? She equates a person's desire for God with what that person feels capable of suffering for God. Comparing the contemplative's capacity with the gift of wine--a larger or smaller serving, a good or superior quality--and a reaction, more or less intoxicated, Teresa states that the Lord intended for the Bride to drink the entire store of wine in the cellar: No parece que el Rey quiere dejarle nada por dar, sino que beba, conforme a su deseo, y se embriague bien, bebiendo de todos esos vinos que hay en la despensa de Dias. (506) (It does not seem that the King wants anything left for him to give, but that she drinks--conforming to his will--and becorres well intoxicated by drinking all the wine that there is in the storerocm of God.)

PAGE 194

187 Bernard, w~ might remember, emphasized the seductiveness of the Bride in her intoxicated state. 'Ihe twist which St. Teresa gives to St. Bernard's sermon en the drunken bride is her emphasis on capacity as willed by God in order that the Bride may endure roore "gifts." Her courage, Teresa notes, will combat the fear that she will lose her life due to drinking beyond her capacity. Returning to the initial image of this chapter, Teresa notes the priority of God's love as he orders charity within the Bride while she experiences the sleep of the senses--that dormant rest from "understanding," "memory," or "will": porque no hay quien le estorbe, sentido ni potencias, digo entendimiento y nanoria; tampoco la voluntad se entiende. (506) (because there is nothing to hinder him, not sense nor abilities, I say, of understanding or memory; nor even the will understands.) To "will" Teresa contrasts "love" and shows the difference to be a power of impulsion. "Will," she says, is the power which draws and aims the arrow of love at God. After piercing God, the arrow gains more love and rebounds to the sender with noticeable benefits of virtue, faith, and distaste for the worldly. With all this rack and forth motion, human confusion composes a boomerang of love, but Teresa sets it in order: God is the "willing" force behind everything. Ordered or not, Teresa admits to her lack of canprehending the secretes de Dios ("Conceptos" 506, God's secrets) so she patterns herself to the Virgin's sul:mission at the Anunciation. 'lb this standard she also directs all of humanity as she contrasts Mary's humility to:

PAGE 195

188 algunos letrados (que no les lleva el Senor por este rncdo de oraci6n, ni tienen principio de espiritu), que quieren llevar las cosas i:or tanta raz6n y tan nedidas por sus entendirnientos, que no parece sino que han ellos con sus letras de comprender todas las grandezas de Dios. isi aprendiesen alga de la humilidad de la Virgen sacratisima! (507) (sane learned man [who do not credit the Lord with this style of speech, nor have the beginnings of spirituality], who want to examine things by wy of reason and use such measurements as their understandings, who do not seem, even with all their learning, to canprehend the grandeur of God. If only they could learn sanething of the humility of the holy Virgin!) For Teresa, humility, then, is not just for women, but also for those "learned men" whose sole guide is reason. This finn rebuke seems directed against the kind of men who would re in charge of censoring her work. Furthermore, we cannot fail to notice the ironic parallel here (intentional?) retween the man who misunderstand God's style in the Song and those who have misunderstood Teresa's Conceptions. Returning to her instruction of the nuns, Teresa explains how the Virgin's example of humility teaches what happens between the Bride and her Spouse. Though the God experience is given at the hands of the traditionally male God, the experiences which Teresa camnunicates are those of the Bride and the Virgin. Thus, the experiences are feminine. In fact, Teresa develops the idea of feminine power, a phenomenal concept, that controls God's giving. She says: ni suele, ni puede SU Majestad dejar de darse a quien se le da toda. (507) (His Majesty is not able not to give himself to one who canpletely gives herself to Him.) Teresa shows the Bride's uncomprehending love compelling God to provide the unitive experience. He is unable to do anything else.

PAGE 196

189 Aclmowledging the cultural deception of male knowledge, Teresa concedes that the feminine way nay not "understand" the process, but it is the feminine capacity to give self which controls--by limiting or expanding--God's love. The impact of such feminist language nay well have nade sparks fly because Teresa next uses a metallurgic metaphor wherein God purifies the soul through the tests and processes of alchemy. She explains that the soul serves God when it enamels such gifts with action. With this swift transformation, St. Teresa changes the feminine controlled experience to a ioore camoon one of an artisan's craft. Simultaneously, the image again presents n-etaphoric justification for the active life resulting fran contemplation. Chapter 7 emphasizes wcmans sacrificial role in preaching, an active result of contemplation. As we cannot fail to note, both sacrifice and preaching are specifically gendered roles assigned to males of the Church. Nevertheless, Teresa proposes both as appropriate roles for women through the parable of the Samaritan "WOman at the well. Teresa transforms into a feminist discourse the Christian Testament's story wherein Jesus encounters a 'WOOlail described by Hebrew as unclean and, thus, shunned by Law. It is said that a painting of the woman at the well was in Teresa's cell in Avila, and she had spent many hours over the years in n-editation l::efore it.27 Since Teresa's discourse concerns the woman's activity--a sign of life--before addressing the interpretation of the Scripture, -we need to make some remarks concerning Teresa's so-called "death wish." Since the advent of Freudian criticism, it would l::e difficult to find a Teresian scholarly critic who did not ascribe such a wish to her. It

PAGE 197

190 is true that she does describe the Bride's rapture as pasa en hecho de verdad (508, happening in actual fact) and informs us that if the unitive state were not a temporary one, death would occur. However, she also explains that God conveys some light wherein she is able to see that es bien gue viva (509, it is good that she lives). Repeatedly, Teresa urges life over death in t.~e Meditations. Furthermore, Teresa shows how God empowers the Bride to imnerse herself in life's activity when Teresa quotes "correctly" from the Song that God should "stay her up with flowers." She identifies that fragrance of the flowers--that odor of mysticism-as an tn1equaled power transaction: r.e otro olor son esas flores que las que aca olemos. ("Conceptos" 509) (These flowers give a perfume like no other we smell here.) Her "natural" development of the netaphor moves from odor to flowers to the tree of love--the source of active works: proceden de este arbol de amor de Dios, y por solo El, sin ningun interes propio, extiendese el olor de estas flores, para aprovechar a muches, yes olor que dura, no pasa presto, sino que hace gran operaci6n. (509) (They [good works] proceed from this tree of God's love, and for Him alone, without any self-interest, and disperse the perfume of these flowers in order that many may make use of it, and it is a fragrance that stays--not quickly passing--but creates a great transaction.) As we can see from such figurative language, Teresa justifies activity fran contemplation--the very kind of "mixed life" which the twentieth-century Cistercian mystic, Thomas Merton, advocated and for which he drew criticism from sone religious.

PAGE 198

191 Teresa prepared her audience's reception to her interpretation of the woman at the well through a derogatory male contrast. She recalls that though a preacher intends a sermon for the profit of his audience, he is not devoid of self-interest, expecting sorre profit to either reputation or position. She identifies neighborly kindness and honorable discretion as similar behavior, though perhaps proceeding more from fear. SU.ch people, she says: Teinen la persecucion; quieren tener gratos los reyes y senores y el pueblo; van con la discreci6n que el rnundo tanto honra. (509) (They are afraid of persecution; they want the gratitude of kings, of men, of the town; they progress with the discretion that the world calls honorable.) We are reminded that such "honor" is not the kind of "detached," God-centered concern of the Bride, nor the Samaritan woman, nor of St. Teresa, whose Conception most certainly lacks discretion in its attack en the male "preacher" who will be deciding if her work not only deserves burning, but also if it incriminates her enough so that she would meet the same fate. Courag eously, Teresa takes this "unclean wanan" and renames her santa Samaritana (510, holy Samaritan woman). She then proceeds to tell how this wanan had so well understood the Lord's words in her heart that she left that sane Lord in order to share those sam: words with the townspeople so that they, too, might benefit. SU.ch an ambiguous introduction allows not only for an explanation of the love which occasions preaching, but also fer an explc.nation of Teresa's own writing and excursions out of the cloister. Li addition, it further displays Teresa's own rhetorical skill for dispositio or arrangement. She does not discuss, for instance, the fact that the woman was

PAGE 199

192 astonished that Jesus would even speak to her, let alone ask her for water, knowing as she did that he was forbidden by Law to touch the cup of water she held. No, Teresa does not mention that. Nor does she discuss the familiar sermon's approach -which directs the audience's attention to the woman's sins--five marriages and an adulterous relationship--and -which emphasizes Jesus's acknowledgement of tr.em. Instead, Teresa remarks: ,( ,. Loque ire espanta a m1 es ver coma la creyeron una mujer, y no deb1a ser de mucha suerte, pues iba por agua. De mucha humilidad, sf; pues cuando el senor le dice sus faltas nose agravi6 sino aljole que debia ser profeta. (510) (What astonishes ne is seeing how they [townsfolk] believed her--a woman, and she coUld not have been very well off because she is fetching water. Yes, she has a great deal of humility; because when the Lord told her sins she was not aggravated but told him that he had to be a prophet.) Appropriately, Teresa shows this parable as demonstrating the woman's great service to her neighbors in preaching of Christ's presence, even though it must have cost her a great deal of pain from the disparaging remarks. Like the woman of tr...e well, Teresa's service to God through her activities caused her much pain--physically as well as anotionally.28 The activities are symoolized by the Bride's apple trees. We should remember, though, that the apple tree is, for Teresa, the tree of the Cross: Entiendo yo por el manzano, el arool de la Cruz (510. I understand the apple tree for the tree of the Cross). With the unifying figure of accumulation, Teresa quotes once roore from the Song: Debajo del arool manzano te resucite (Song 8: 5, Fran below the apple tree I resurrected you). Thus, the cross of activity is loved

PAGE 200

193 because it is the soul's way not only to imitate Christ, but also to repay the joys of contemplation. Teresa concludes the Meditations by identifying critics of contemplative-activists as weak beginners in spirituality, though she does note that premature activity would occasion rrany dangers for a soul. She reminds the nuns of their original intention to increase their comprehension of the Song and to increase their capacity to meditate upon it. She ends by addressing her censors, mentioning "presumption" sanewhat ambiguously, and repeating that she wrote in obedience to orders. In the cannelite guidebook is the assertion that "St. Joseph's in Avila is a sacred fount which has never ceased to abound with Teresian water" (55). Certainly, Teresa's conceptions of love, of independent thought, of preaching women were a veritable fountain hidden behind a very necessary fortification of coded rhetoric. Her battle was not for herself alone; it was for women. Certainly, she is a saint of the Church and shared its relief and aIIployed its tropes, but she employed her weapon--the sword of conternplation--in the battle for women as well as for God. Notes 1 Weber suggests that Teresa was nade co-patron saint of Spain with Santiago de Ccmpostela, the Moorslayer (17). Peers (1927), however, says that she was denied this appellation (145). My impression is that she holds the first rank now in Spain, considering her !X)pularity, but I am unable to confirm her shared status with St. James, the Elder. She was made the first woman Doctor of the Church, though, in 1969 (Weber 36). 2 The Convent of San Jose, Teresa's first foundation at Avila, does have an interior garden with a single rustic spring. The Discalced ca.rmelite nuns maintain silence as part of their Rule.

PAGE 201

194 Exceptions are made with regular family visits and on special occasions. But I am also naking reference here to st. Teresa's favorite image--water. Her Vida, for instance, describes the stages of contemplation by way of various kinds of waters of the soul. Furthermore, the agricultural arrangement of the Meditations discusses the tree and the flowers, and I thought it appropriate to l::egin with Teresa as the fount of such thought. 3 Inappropriate as it is for many of us today, especially for those familiar with Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale," the relics of St. Teresa are highly venerated in Spain. In Avila, for instance, is a clavicle and her ring finger (with the ring still on it)~ in Alba de Tornes is another clavicle, her heart and a coffin with nost of her body. Fray Jer6nino Gracian had written, as head of the Order at the time, that he with another nonk had opened her coffin after a year, found her body uncorrupted, and severed a hand frcm it as proof, taking it with him. It would be a najor undertaking to locate all of Teresa's parts and try to put her back together. 4 San I.Drenzo de El Escorial was only l::egun to be wilt during st. Teresa's time, but the children's tanbs are carved in white marble and form a huge, tiered wedding cake. Another example of the culture includes a crucifix in the church. The Jesus has real hair which reaches down to his chest and has a red velvet skirt around his waist. Though the corpus does not have breasts, it is a very feminine Christ. 5 In all, Teresa wrote seven books and nade thirty-two foundations. 6 I realize that I am going out on a limb here, b.lt all of history becomes reinterpreted on the basis of current knowledge. I do believe that Teresa believed in the equality of the sexes in a world that did/does not. Her Meditations do not stop short, as carole Slade believes, nor do they only intend to free her own voice as Alison Weber concludes. They are like Conceptions of feminine independence and encourage feminine freedom rut went largely unheard because the audience was not ready to hear them. I use both titles interchangeably because the subject natter oscillates between mysticism and feminist thought. 7 E. Allison Peers used Gracian's edition as well as the Codices of: Alba, Baeza, Consuegra, and I.as Nieves. All the translations of Teresa's "Conceptos" are ndne from Aguilar's Obras unless otherwise noted. Since Peers' accessed the previously mentioned manuscripts, I consUlted his translation in Works. I also used my own translation of Teresa's ecstatic experience described in the Steggink edition of her Vida. 8 Weber's book by that title is an invaluable source. 'lhe question of the purpose of such rhetoric, though, is disputable, even in the magazine, Teresa de Jesus. For instance, Mercedes Navarro's

PAGE 202

195 article explores the question of Teresa's so-called virility in "Teresa de Jesus: I.a mujer y lo fernenino" (June, 1985): 17-20. 9 11 0Ur lbly M:)ther," she was called in the carmels (Peers 1946:215). Certainly, she had more power and more influence than any other nun in Spain. The authority she wielded jars 'With the humility she proposed unless that humility is the means by which she thinks the battle 'Will be won, and this last is the way that I read it. 10 Teresa wrote the Rule for the Discalced carmelite Order for nuns and then contacted tw m::mkS interested in doirg the sane for the men because she Wc111ted confessors trained in contemplation for her nuns. She was instrumental in getting St. Jolm of the cross to help organize the men and to act as confessor for herself and her convents. She also encouraged him to write about his contemplative experiences, for which the world has some of its nost beautiful Spanish poetry. 11 st. John escaped from the m:mastery in 'Ibledo where he had been imprisoned by the Carmelites 'Who were unhappy with the primitive Discalced Order being formed. Whipped daily, kept unclean, and practically starved in a coffin-sized closet, he begged entry at a nearby convent. Though the p:nalties were great if they were discovered, the nuns allowed him to stay in the outer hall and contacted a Franciscan priest to drive him to the Reformed Order and safety. Teresa had been unable to locate where the monks had kept him prisoner; if he had not escaped, he would have died. 12 Though Giovanni Lorenzo Pemini's (1598-1680) sculpture of St. Teresa in ecstasy next to an angel with a spear promotes an image of orgasm, what is interesting is that Pernini actually sculpted an angel who is really too small for a seraphim and too large for a cherub. He appears to have skirted the issue. See Figure 3, page 147, for a copy of the sculpture. 13 The Ad Herennium identifies three types of style: grand, using 11 ornate 11 and "impressive" words as well as grand figures of thought and diction (255); middle, using less impressive words, relaxed yet not colloquial; and simple, using "the most current idiom of standard speech" (253), which is "correct and well-chosen" (267). Unquestionably, Teresa employs standard colloquialisms, but she also uses some elaborates figures of thought and diction, as this chapter shows. Her style, classified as simple, is not simple in the easy sense. 14 A pre-industrial society such as Spain of the Siglo de Oro asserts not only male rights to property, but also gender dominance. Furthennore, "The male head may use unrestrained force 'Within his household. Since force and economic resources are concentrated in the head, he has unopposed rontrol over other irembers" (Collins 135). In this tine period, only since 1979 have women been able to have separate 1::ank accounts without the written consent of their husbands. Examples of Spanish male chauvinism today most often occur in

PAGE 203

196 restaurants. The waiter, for instance, would frequently position himself away from me and toward my husband so that he could take the order, but my husband does not speak Spanish. It was a secret delight for me that waiters everywhere we went had to acJmowledge my existence at the table as I ordered not only for myself, but also for my husband. They got their revenge, though, by frequently ignoring my request for the check and causing us to wait inordinate amounts of time cefore we were able to leave. The same behavior did not occur at the tapas bars, though, perhaps because "serving" did not really occur there. 15 At one of the churches in Toledo, a nun gave us a special tour and showed us where the monjas would kneel to receive conmunion from cehind a screen. Of course, it is no surprise that confessions are made that way. Masses, too, are watched behind the grill. At Alba de 'Ibrmes, St. Teresa had her ced behind such a grill for awhile so that she could see mass before she died. The grill/screen separation is also used by contemplative ronks to separate them from the laity at mass, even in the U.S.A. today. 16 According to the 1991 guide at the Convent of the Discalced in Madrid, it was one of the scandals of Spain that 'While sorre of its richest daughters brought famed original oil :i;aintings or bejeweled crucifixes or costly fabric as their dowries to the Order, many times the nuns were starving cecause of the poverty of the Rule. 17 The Discalced carme1ite connection to St. Francis is rrore than poverty, though. St. Teresa, as a carmelite nun, observed the primitive example of the Poor Clares, the contemplative Franciscan nuns, and determined to reform her O"Wn order along such lines. 18 I am indebted to Professor John Perlette for my research on I.azarillo de Tonnes in the Spring of 1990. He encouraged me in an unmarked path--rhetorical speculation of the text's Freudian and mystical aspects. 19 It is, of course, arguable that Teresa's rotive was that the Sonq should be appreciated on its erotic level though I translate her saying just that. Ascribing rootives is an iffy business on any level. Weber does display admiration for this saint, as I am sure we all must feel 'When we read her works, but Weber seems to blane Teresa for the "manly" comments made about her after her death. Such comments assured her of "a place in the Son" but not a place for her sisters. Since that is the result, Weber implies that Teresa was the cause. I hope that this essay shows that Teresa tried to emancipate her sisters without getting herself burned in the process. I do not find that a selfish act. 20 Letters among the Discalced, the Provincial, the Pope and his nuncio indicate a real turroil erupted when Teresa brought reform to the Carmelite Order. Imprisonment, denunciations to the Inquisition, and official replacements are just a few of the political "machinations" to which I refer.

PAGE 204

197 21 Teresa's mystical way transfonned St. Bernard's three stages of purgation, illtimination, and union, to seven stages: recollection, the prayer of quiet, union, ecstasy, rapture, the pain of God, and the spiritual marriage. 22 After I had written this description of St. Teresa's image, I saw the copy of the painting of Saint catherine of Sienna (Fran I.egenda Maier, 1597 Paris) in the clouds nursing at Christ's breast in carolyn Walker Bynum's article 11 The Female Body and Religious Practice, 11 160. 23 St. Bernard of Clairvaux has also been painted as drinking the Virgin's breast milk as it sprays fran her breast while she is seated on a throne with the infant Jesus in her other arm. The painting is fran the Renaissance period and is on display at the Prado. 24 In 1558 Dr. A~gustin cazalla, preacher to Cllarles V and to the Convent of Our Lady of Bethlehem in Valladolid, sent a note warning the sub-prioress, rona Marina de Guevara, that he had been denounced to the Inquisition. Hroch and Skybova say that 11 He assumed that the zressage woUld be intercepted, and phrased it very carefUlly" (112). 25 Humility is usually designated for women. Teresa's 11 humility 11 has been frequently noted by the critics. It seems, though, that she does not suggest humility for a single gender. Since that point must have been overlooked, perhaps it is not easy to see. Of course, it may also be that we expect her to be speaking just to women and upholding the double standard instead of exposing it as false. 26 Teresa was net physically strong. SUffering from various illnesses all her life, at one point she was pronounced dead. A coffin was prepared for her, but her father woUld not allow her burial because he could not believe that she was dead. She lay unconscious for three days. Also, she experienced great pain in her heart and may have suffered epilepsy. After writing The Interior castle, she broke her left am, and it never set prcperly. 27 Her cell is retained at the convent the way that she kept it. In a photograph there is a painting on the wall, but it is too dark to tell if that is a painting of the wanan at the well. 28 Besides the physical illnesses, Teresa had to make many grueling horseback/ass journeys across Spain's arid plains and sanetimes over its irountain range (now known as the St. Teresa Mountains). She began the foundations at the age of forty-seven and was on the road to establish another -when she became ill and turned to the convent at Alba de Tormes. After a few days, she died. Her emotional pain nrust have resUlted from the many early tests put to her by the Churchmen to determine if her trances and visions were fran the devil. But, even later, when St. John was kidnapped and imprisoned,

PAGE 205

198 and her beloved Jeroniroo Gracian's position was endangered, she must have suffered emotionally. Perhaps hardest of all, she saw herself and other women as capable of a closeness to God but forbidden to lead ritual sacrifice and preaching, offices reserved for men only.

PAGE 206

AFTERWORD Fran the serm:ms of Bernard of Clairvaux to the contemplations of St. Teresa, the Song of Songs has influenced and validated the power of Christian mystical rhetoric. Men and wcmen alike have been enabled to visualize intimacy with ~ist by st. Bernard's nasterful devel~t of the bridal netaphor. That intimacy, in turn, has lent authority to individuals designated as mystics to effect change in their own status. Of special importance here is the fact that literary wcmen, availing themselves of the ambiguity implicit in mystical language, have successfully subverted the patterns first used by man of the church and indeed have done so by calling upon the aninent authority of its mellifluous doctor, St. Bernard. Five basic patterns have been found to give structure to the prose works considered in this study. These patterns, which, as I have aclmowledged, sanetimes overlap, offer sane surprising implications, several of which have been considered in the chapters devoted to St. Bernard's "kiss," Margery Kempe's tears, and st. Teresa's "conceptions." Consideraticn of those implications, fraught as they are with a fusion of spirituality and sexuality, leads, inevitably it now seems, to consideraticn of this questions Is literary creation a repetition of our physical conception that presents itself in the guise of cultural myth? The first pattern, which rests an the interrelationship of water and earth, resonates with primitive echoes and includes a reading of 199

PAGE 207

200 the body as earth. The cloud is also present in cataphatic writings that develop this pattern, hlt it functions mre as a shadowy protection, like that which followed the Hebrew in Exodus, than as a potentially obliterating being. water, of course, can be a fearful element for creatures of the land. Margery's voyages by sea were frightening affairs, but since she continued to make them well into her sixties it is difficult not to see her courage as a result of Christ's denunciaticm. of the apostles' fear in his presence as they -were tossed by the storm. But a ioo.:ce frequent fom taken by water is to be seen in the fountain which wells up fran a hidden water source within the earth and .:cetums to the earth, nourishing it in the process. st. Bernard's ninth sermon shows the Bride as a fountain: The breasts of the Bride a.:ce superior to worldly or carnal love1 the number who drink of them, however great cannot exhaust their content for they draw unceasingly fran the inward fountains of charity." (Bernard, ~. 60) We nay .:recall that the Song describes "the fountain of the gardens" as "a well of living waters" (4: 15). Its Sefirotic allusion, by which I mean the well which lives and gives life as a netaphor for the Kabbalah's emanation of the hidden God, is tempered in the works of st. Teresa and Mlrgery Kempe, though, by the blood and water shed by Christ on the Cross. This connection made, there is but a small IOOVement for the .:reader to :aake to the waters of baptism which cleanse the faithful fran original sin. Purification by water is, then, the rationale behind the tradition of tears, and thus Mlrgery Kempe's tears, yet another aspect of the vital element, serve a purgative

PAGE 208

201 function and becCIIe a way to salvation. 'lbe .Qng,'s influence en this metaphor of contemplation has, therefore, been noticeable in the writings of St. Bemard, St. Teresa, and Margery Kempe. The second pattern-an agricultural pattern-takes the form of a pastoral idyll in the .!:!g,, presentirJ trees, their blossans, and their fruit in mystical. configuration. '1he three trees m:>st described are the tree of Genesis, the apple tree of the song, the tree of Christ's crucifixion. St. Teresa conflates these trees into the apple tree. The blossans of the trees and the flowers of enclosed gardens are sensual additions to the erotic pattern in their softness to the touch, their decorative color, and their fragrance. Tm three gardens thus patterned include F.den, Solanon's enclosed garden, and the Garden of Gethsemane. The m::>st important third pattern, 'Which nay also be the m::>st surprisirJ configuration in the context of spiritual writings, has to do with the obvious eroticism of a focus en the body. ~lopnents of this pattern involve attention to music, secret intimacy, odors, kissing, nale/female hierarchical positions, touching, lactation fantasies, marital ritual, physical pain, intaxicatirJ ecstasy, conception, and delivery. The liberties taken with the fantasies of Christ, for instance, as bedded husband, as nursing mother, and as seduced hanosexual lover, cane close if they do not cross over, the line of blasphemy-at least for a laity consistently warned against the evils of sexuality. My attempts to determine if description of mystical union in sexual terms is merely an accamoodation to ineffability, is an actual

PAGE 209

202 equality, or is a ccmponent of the experience have produced no easy answers. '1he mystics' view of spiritual union as a sexual experience is a different view. It does not present that miion as solely spiritual-as sane theologians would have it, nor as mre a thing of the body than the spirit-as a reading too strongly conditioned by the thrust of our present culture would have it, l:ut as a holistic knowledge fran which sexuality cannot. be divorced. Whether or not the mystics ask for the union they describe does not determine their experience of that union, which seem describable only in terms related to physical, bodily experience. The mind translates the experience in the language available to the human being who lives in a physical world, and the translation invokes cultural discrimination. St. Bernard imposes a hierarchy of authority and offers fulfillment through fantasy kisses rather than physical ones. Margery Kempe challenges that hierarchy through assertiveness and ab\ll'ldant tears. Her fantasies of Clu:'ist show him rescuing her fran the tramnas of repeated Church imposition of childbirth in a kind of rhetorical drama by which her virginity seems reincamated. St. Teresa of Avila propels herself into that hierarchy through her authoritative teaching and prescriptive contemplation, using it as a sword to cut through the forbidding traditicn that wanen, \llllike mm, could not experience autancmy. The fourth pattern is that of metanoia. This is the transformation which individuals IIake as they IIDVe fran cne state to another and to which Evelyn Underhill referred when she noted: "We are amphibious creatures; our life IIDVes upon two levels at aice the

PAGE 210

203 natural and the spiritual" (34). Bernard describes the individual's transformation as the sinner progresses with kisses up the body of Christ and again when the Bride's conception shows her breast filled with milk. Margery Kempe shows her own metanoia when she was afflicted with the wrenching tears at Calvary. Her spiritual life then becomes her new life and normally autobiographical details almost disappear fran her Book. St. Teresa of Avila shows metanoia as having occurred, probably during the "cherubim's" visit, when she was able to understand that God's ways were not the ways of the "male" tradition in which she lived. She attributes her comprehension of Latin, her gift of contemplation, her awareness of the difference between the message of the Song and its reception, all of these to her transformation. '!he fifth pattern was the language of defiance symbolically presented in the .!& as the sword. Solomon's men, we may recall, wore their swords on their thighs in order to protect his bed. '!he lI\YStics saw that bed as the contemplative place of union with God/Christ, and their language defied any usurper of the privilege of that red. John Kempe feared for his life if he were to invade Margery's new-found chastity. However, in both Margery Kempe's and Teresa of Avila's cases, open defiance of cultural restrictions promised certain death. Margery faced trial for heresy a number of times, both officially and unofficially. Both Margery and st. Teresa, as lI\Y chapters 2 and 3 demonstrate, had to exercise a coded rhetoric. St. Teresa had been denounced to the Inquisition at least twice, but her own death saved her the fate of

PAGE 211

204 incarceration. Margery had only t-wo weapons at her disposal, her cries and her conversations with Christ. Teresa had a cabalistic heritage which ascribed secret Jmowledge to words; as a result, she covered her language with contemporary debasements of the "ignorant female" and necessary "humility" while simultaneously girding her nuns with the "sword of contemplation." Her pen was indeed "mightier." But lx>th Margery and Teresa were heartened by the Christian Testament to the woman at the well. They both translated that consolation into a subversion of the patriarchal system, encouraging other women aloud and in writing to refuse unequal justice at the hands of fathers, husbands, or Church officials in the matter of spiritual understanding of God. Of course these five are not the only discernible patterns. Others include themes of poverty, ascetic practices, illness, contemplative steps, visions, elevations, sacrifice, and preaching. Certainly, they can all be read as part of the affective tradition in which love is described in tenns of the nourishment, courage, lx>dy, and transformation of the individual, as well as in ternG of the individual's resolve to help others to surmount the difficulties of life. All of these patterns reflect the story and legacy of Genesis: its primitive preparation, its planting and fruiting, its temptation and sin, its transformation, and its human concern for others. Thus mystical genres are tut the branches of a tree rooted in the Bible. Taken together, as representative of the affective tradition, the mystical prose genres of sermon, narrative, and lesson display an erotic dimension normally unthinkable within the Christian religion.

PAGE 212

205 Perhaps this culture's obsessive sexuality coupled with its repressive tradition cause an impediment to reading the texts as fUlly as they might be read. Perhaps our traditional understanding of mystical literature needs to be revised with its persuasive t.echniques in full view. Perhaps the power of mystical literature's persuasiai foms another link in our history of sexuality. It should be possible to go fran a refusal to deal with the sexual content of mystical literature for the sake of sex to further possibilities. Since I have by no neans presented a canplete analysis of mystical literature, its bodily condition, or its rhetoric, further possible studies might include a focus cm the hcm:>eroticism already noticeable. It seems to act as a gender-bonding in ccmnunal fantasy, especially conspicuous in st. Bernard and St. Teresa's language. The ego's identification with "divinity" is mre suspect in the personal visions of Margery Kanpe. Though Kempe used such identification as a purge, especially the scenes of
PAGE 213

206 infant Christ. st. Teresa's agricultural developnent fran tree to flower to fruit is, in itself, a seasonal agricultural image. Exploration of time might well bring forth different ways of organizing events in sequence. st. Bernard uses chronological sequence, effecting sane kind of dating systen within his reniniscence, blt neither Margery Kempe nor st. Teresa anployed that kind of sequencing. Both wcmm instead used a cyclical form, returning to discarded points and carrying them forward in other images, DDVing back and forward through time, changing tenses so much that time had a way of flitting by as blt another ma.le myth across their pages. I must admit that I shifted towards their tense styles in a rhetorical IOOVe called attenuation as opposed to accentuation, which according to Howard Giles (quoted in Weber 13) would have declared that I identified with a contrasting group. I hoped in doing so to enable the reader both to participate in the rhetoric of Margery and Teresa, as I have felt myself doing, and to stand apart fran it, as I have also found myself doing. But how objective are we? science, with all of its teclmology, has now been brought to bear up:m the subject of physical experience. Brain waves are measured; cur1ian photography exposes auras; infra-red light shows the body burning its calories; and lasers show the fetal developnents in the garishly colored wanb. Not far, and certainly not missing fran science fiction, is the visual representation of the conceptions in the mind. we can already see the synapses in explosions of light as impulses ioove along the causeways of the brain. Saneday we may be able to see the visual fantasies that pr0100te and are praooted by our language.

PAGE 214

207 Perha~ there are no visions in the mind. There may be only pattems of learned behavioral responses to stimuli. Where then does originality lie? What can explain the infinite canbinations of patterns that constitute difference and creativity? We know that individuals do undergo changes so radical that they can be called transformations. It is possible that netanoia or conversion might be tracked down to a chance incursicm of energy within the constituted organism, or even to a kind of internal combustion. Each of the mystics studied was enonoously productive. All three of our subjects used the kind of energy Evelyn Underhill called "great vitality" (34) in their transcendence of the "sense-"WOrld" and entry into the "intenser life" of the universe (35). Pertinent would be studies of energy emissions of various professionals as opposed to contemplatives. It is time, too, that literary criticism opens the 100nastic gardens' gates and freshens the musky silence of mystical genres with its discursive sounds. Too long have the swords of rhetoric and dialectic been rusting fran disuse oo. contemplative "WOrks. After the initial clash, investigation and analysis might unite academia and 100nastery to enliven than both. Many of the "WOrld's great mystics have devoted their abundant energy to helping others. St. Bernard frequently left the 100nastery at the request of others in order to help the pope and friends in need. Margery Kempe gave up 100ney, position, and accaoodatiai to serve the poor and needy. st. Teresa wrote letters defending those accused of wrongdoing and traveled grueling journeys while ill to found convents. M:>st of what these mystics wrote w.s for the benefit of others, to

PAGE 215

208 help people to becane aware of God's love. Their intense activities were neant for the benefit of their societies and show their human affirmation, and the story continues with Mother Theresa of ca1cutta, to name just one contemporary contemplative who plays an active role in easing the suffering of others. This study has been cancemed with the forms that the mystical writings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Margery Kempe, and St. Teresa of Jesus took. Another question that might well be asked until answers are found is wey did they write? Most of the writing of the three Christians whose work has been cxmsidered here was intended for the benefit of others, to persuade then of the presence of God/Jesus in human life, and to expand their culturally prescribed boundaries so that they may becane mre fully human.

PAGE 216

WORKS CITED Aristotle. De Generatione Animalium. Trans. Arthur Platt. Oxford: Clarendon, 1910. Fil. J. A. Snith & w. D. Ross. Vol. 5 of 'lhe Works of Aristotle. 12 vols. 1908-52. --. 'lhe Rhetoric of Aristotle. Trans. Lane Cooper. 1932. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1960. Astell, Ann. 'lhe song of songs in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, NY: Comell UP, 1990. Atkinson, Clarissa. Mystic and Pilgrim. Ithaca, NY: COmell UP, 1983. Augustine. Augustine: Earlier Writings. Fil. & trans. John Burleigh. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1953. ---. The Confessions of st. Augustine. Trans. Rex wamer. New York: Mentor, 1963. Barnstone, Willis. 'lhe Unknown Light. Albany: New York UP, 1979. Beckwith, Sarah. "A Very Material Mysticism: The Medieval Mysticism of Margery Kempe." Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology, and History. Fil. David Aers. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986. Bernard of Clairvaux. 'lhe Letters of Bernard of Clairvaux. Trans. Bruno s. James. Chicago: Henry Regnery Coolpany, 1953. ---. Sermones super Cantica Canticorum. Trans. Killian 'Walsh and Irene Edm:>nds. 4 vols. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1971-80. Brenan, Gerald. st. John of the Cross. cambridge: cambridge UP, 1973. Butler, Cuthbert. Westem Mysticism. 2nd ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. Bynum, caroline 'Walker. "The Female Body and Religious Practices in the Later Middle Ages." Zone: Fragments for a History of the Human Body Part one. Fil. Michael Feher. New York: Urzone, 1989. ---. Jesus as Mother. Berkeley: U of califomia P, 1982. Chesler, Phyllis. Women and Madness. New York: Avon, 1972. 209

PAGE 217

210 Cholmeley, Katherine. Margery Kempe, Genius and Mystic. London: Folcraft, 1978. Cicero. De Inventione. Trans. H. M. Hubbell. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1949. (Pseudo). Rhetorica Ad Herennium. Trans. H. caplan. 1954. cambridge: Harvard UP, 1989. Colledge, Eric. ''Margery Kempe." 'lhe M::>nth 28.1 {1962): 16-29. Collins, Randall. "A Conflict Theory of 5exual Stratification" {1971). sex in SOciety, Perspectives on Stratification. :Ed.Joyce Nielsen. BelDDnt, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1978. Colvill, Helen H. Saint Teresa of Spain. London: 1-Ethuen & Co., 1910. Conn, Joann Wolski, ed. wanens Spirituality: Resources for Christian DeveloJ!D@llt. New York: Paulist Press, 1986. Crane, SUsan. Insular Rana.nee: Politics, Faith, and Culture in Anglo-Norman and Middle English Literature. Berkeley: U of ca1ifomia P, 1986. Crashaw, Richard. 'lhe Coolplete Poetry of Richard Crashaw. F.d. George Walton Williams. New York: State U of New York P, 1972. Curtius, Ernst Robert. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Trans. Willard R. Trask. 1953. New York: Harper & Row, 1963. De Beauvoir, Simone. 'Ihe Second Sex. F.d. & trans. H. M. Parshley. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953. Depres, Denise. "Franciscan Spirituality: Margery Kempe and Visual Meditation." Mystics Quarterly {March, 1985): 12-18. Diehl, Patrick s. 'Ihe Medieval European Religious Lyric: An Ars Poetica. Berkeley: u of califomia P, 1985. Dinshaw, carolyn. Chaucer's Sexual Poetics. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin P, 1989. Dionysius {Pseudo). Pseudo-Dionysius the Cooplete Works. Trans. Colm Luibheid. New York: Paulist Press, 1987. Duque, Baldomero J. Convento de San Jose. Avila, Spain: M::>njas carmelitas de San Jose, 1984. Erasmus, Desiderius. De Copia Verborum. London: Wright, 1650. Scolar Press Facsimile, 1972.

PAGE 218

211 Evans, G.R., trans. Bernard of Clairvaux. Ed. Jolm Farina. New York: Paulist Press, 1987. --. The Mind of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983. Farmer, Sharan. "Persuasive Voices: Clerical Images of Medieval Wives. 11 Speculum, 61 (1986): 517-543. Foucault, Michel. 'lhe Archaeology of Knowledge. Trans. A.M. Sheridan smith. New York: Dorset Press, 1972. --. 'Ihe History of Sexuality. Trans. Robert Hurley. 2 vols. New York: Randan House, 1980. Freud, Sigmund. 'Iherapy and Teclmigue. F.d. Philip Rieff. New York: Collier Books, 1963. Frost, S.E., ed. 'lhe Sacred Writings of the World's Great Religions. N.Y: Garden City Books, 1943. Gadol, Joan Kelly. "Did l'bDen Have a Renaissance?" Becoming Visible: Wanen in European History. Ed. Renete Bridenthal and Claudia Koony. lbston, 1977. Gies, Frances & Joseph. l'bnen in the Middle Ages. New York: Harper & Row, 1978. Gilson, Etienne. 'lhe Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard. Trans. A.H.C. Downes. 1940. London: Sheed & Ward, 1955. Goergen, Donald. 'Ihe Sexual Celibate. New York: Image, 1979. Hatzfeld, Helmut A. Santa Teresa de Avila. New York: Twayne, 1969. Hellmann, J.A. "The Spirituality of the Franciscans." F.d. Jill Raitt. Vol. 2. 1988. Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation. 3 vols. New York: Crossroad, 1987. 31-50. Hirsh, John c. "Author and Scribe in The Book of Margery Kempe." Medium Aevum 44 (1975): 245-50. Howe, Elizabeth T. "The Mystical Kiss and the Canticle of Canticles: 'lhree Interpretations." American Benedictine Review 33 (Sept., 1982): 302-7. Hroch, Miroslav and Anna Scybova. F.cclesia Militans, The Inauisition. 1988. Trans. Janet Fraser. Germany: Dorset Press, 1990. "Human Sexual Behaviour." Britannica. 1977 ed. Huxley, Aldous. The Perennial Philosophy. New York: Harper, 1945.

PAGE 219

212 Johnson, Mark. The Body in the Mind. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987. Johnston, William, ed. 'lhe Cloud of Unknowing. New York: D:>ubleday, 1973. ---. The Inner Eye of Love. London: Collins, 1978. Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Love. Trans. & introd. M.L. Del Mastro. New York: D:>ubleday, 1977. Katz, Steven T. "Language, Epistem:>logy, and Mysticism," Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis. New York: OXford UP, 1978. Keller, Carl A. "Mystical Literature" Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis. New York: OXford UP, 1978. Keller, Evelyn Fox. Reflections on Gender and Science. New Haven,~= Yale UP, 1985. Kempe, Margery. 'lhe Book of Margery Kempe. F.d. Sanford Meech. Introd. Hope Allen. London: OXford UP, 1940. --. 'lhe Book of Margery Kempe. Trans. B. A. Windeatt. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1985. Kennedy, George. 'lhe Art of Persuasion in Greece. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1963. Kieckhefer, Richard. "Major CUrrents in I.ate M:!dieval Devotion." Vol. 2. Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation. 3 vols. 1987. :Ed. Jill Raitt New York: Crossroad, 1988. 75-108. Ki ttay, Eva Feder. "Woman as Metaphor." Hypatia 3 ( 1988) : 63-86. Kurtz, Patricia D. "Mary of 0ignies, Christine the Marvelous, and Medieval Heresy." Mystics Quarterly. 14.4 (1988): 186-196. Lazarillo de Tormes. Trans. Michael Alpert. 1969. London: Penguin Books, 1988. Leclercq, Jean. "Introduction." Bernard of Clairvaux. Trans. G.R. Evans. New York: Paulist Press, 1987. ---. "Introduction." Vol. 3. On the Song of Songs. Trans. Killian Walsh. 4 vols. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1976. --. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. Trans. catherine Misrahi. 1961. New York: Fordham UP, 1982.

PAGE 220

213 Lewis, I.M. Ecstatic Religion. 1971. London: Routledge, 1989. Lucas, Angela. Women in the Middle Ages. New York: St. Martin s Press, 1983. Matter, E. Ann. '!be Voice of My Beloved. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1990. M::Keon, Richard. "Poetry and Philosophy in the Twelfth Century, '!he Renaissance of Rhetoric. 11 Modern Philology, XLIII (May, 1946) : 217-234. Merton, Thomas. Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 1980. Miller, Jean Baker, ed. Psychoanalysis and Women. Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1973. Murphy, James J. Rhetoric in the Middle Ages. Berkeley: U of ca1ifornia P, 1974. Murray, A. Victor. Abelard and St. Bernard. New York: Manchester UP, Barnes & Noble, 1967. The New American Bible. New York: catholic Publishing Co., 1970. Nyrop, Christopher. The Kiss and its History. Trans. William Harvey. London: Sands & Co., 1901. Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1968. Origen. Origen: The Song of Songs, Coomentary and Homilies. Trans. R. P. Lawson. Ancient Christian Writers. F.d. Johannes Quasten & Joseph Plumpe. Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1957. Osuna, Francisco. Francisco de Osuna: The Third Spiritual Alphabet. Trans. Mary E. Giles. New York: Paulist Press, 1981. Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd. edition. 1989. OZinent, Steven. The Age of Reform 1250-1550. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1980. Partner, Nancy F. "Reading the Book of Margery Kempe. 11 Exemplaria 3. 1 (1992): 29-66. Peers, E. Allison. Mother of carmel. New York: Morehouse-Gorham, 1946. ---. Vol. 1. Studies of the Spanish Mystics. 2 vols. London: Sheldon Press, 1927. Pegis, Anton, ed. Vol. 1. Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. 2 vols. New York: Random House, 1945.

PAGE 221

214 Pelikan, Jaroslav. Vol. 1. The Emergence of the catholic Tradition (100-600). 5 vols. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1971. Vol. 3. The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300). 5 vols. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1978. Perella, Nicolas J. The Kiss Sacred and Profane. Berkeley: U of california P, 1969. Plato. Gorgias. Trans. Walter Hamilton. 1960. Iondon: Penguin Books, 1971. ---. Phaedrus and the Seventh and Eighth Letters. Trans. Walter Hamilton. Iondon: Penguin Books, 1973. Power, Eileen. "The Position of \'bm:m." The legacy of the Middle ~Ed. G.C. Crump and E.F. Jacobs. Oxford, 1926. Riehle, Wolfgang. 'lbe Middle English Mystics. Trans. Bernard Standring. Iondon, Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1981. Rose, Jaqueline, trans. Feminine Sexuality: Jacques La.can and the ecole freudienne. London: Macmillan, 1982 Salzman, Leon. "Psychology of the Female. 11 Miller 202-220. Sanchez-Romerlo, Antonio & Ibarra, Fernando. Antologia de autores espanoles antiguos y modernos. New York: Macmillan, 1972. ScholE!II, Gersham. Kabbalah. Keter Publishing, 1974; New York: Dorset, 1987. Seidenberg, Robert. "Is Anatomy Destiny?" Miller 306-329. Sherfey, Mary Jane. "On the Nature of Female Sexuality." Miller 136-153. Slade, carole. "Saint Teresa's ~itaciones Sabre Los cantares: The Hermeneutics of Humility and Enjoyment" Religion & Literature 18.1 (Spring, 1986: 27-44). Smith, Margaret. The Way of the Mystics: The Early Christian Mystics and the Rise of the SUfis. New York: Oxford UP, 1978. Soble, Alan, ed. Philosophy of Sex. Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1980. Stone, Merlin. When God Was a Woman. New York & Iondon: HBJ, 1976. Straw, Carole. Gregory the Great: Perfection in Imperfection. Berkeley: U of ca1ifomia P, 1988.

PAGE 222

215 Tavard, George. "Apostolic Life and Church Reform." Vol. 2. Christian Spirituality. Jill Raitt, ed. New York: Crossroad, 1988. Teresa of Jesus. The Complete Works of St Teresa of Jesus. Ed. & trans. E. Allison Peers. 3 vols. London: Sheed and W:ird, 1972. ---. ---. ---. ---. ---. "Conceptos del Amor de Dies" Ed. M. Aguilar. Santa Teresa de Jesus: 0bras Completas. Quinta Edicion. Madrid, 1945. Epistolario. Segunda Edicion. Madrid: Editorial de Espiritualidad, 1984. Libre de la Vida. otto Steggink Edicion, Madrid: Clasicos castalia, 1986. The Life of Teresa of Jesus. Trans. & ed. E. Allison Peers. New York: Image, 1960. The Way of Perfection. Trans. E. Allison Peers. Sheed & ward, 1946. New York: Image, 1964. Tuana, Nancy. "The Weaker Seed: The Sexist Bias of Reproductive Theory." Hypatia 3 (SUmmer, 1988): 35-59. Tuma, George w. 'lhe Fourteenth Century English Mystics: A Comparative Analysis. 2 vols. Salzburg, Austria: Institut fur Englische Sprache und Literatur, U of Salzburg P, 1977. Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism. New York: I-Eridian, 1955. Van Engen, John. "The 'Crisis of Cenobitism' Reconsidered: Benedictine Monasticism in the Years 1050-1150." Speculum 61 (1986): 269-304. Weber, Alison. Teresa of Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1990. Young, Robert V. "Crashaw, St. John of the Cross and the Dark Night of the Soul" A Fair Day in the Affections. Raleigh, N.C: Winston Press, 1980.

PAGE 223

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Claire F. Brunetti was bom in Coventry, England and emigrated to the Ulited States in the 1950s. She attended Pennsbury schools in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, graduating with honors in 1961. After her freshman year at lock Haven state Uliversity in Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the honorary dramatics fraternity of Alpha Psi Qnega, :aember of the choir and nember of the newspaper staff. Claire married Michael J. Brunetti, and they traveled to England and Paris, France. Their two sons, Michael and Clifford were 1:om in the following years. After they were school age, Claire returned to college. Atlantic COmmunity College, New Jersey, credited her with the year she had already earned, and she graduated with an A.A. and high honors in 1970. Transferring to Glassboro state College, a three-hour daily drive, she won the English Department Award and graduated cum laude with a B.A. in 1972. In her spare time she taught horseback riding, tutored reading, and produced, directed, and acted with both the Atlantic CollUlunity Players and the Ocean City Conmunity Players, even scripting their Bus Stop productiai for local television. Fran 1972 to 1974, she taught English at Hammonton High School and worked as a homemaker fran 1974 to 1977. In 1977 Claire took a position in Bradford County, Florida teaching adult education and acting as a county 4H leader for three years. She maintained a teaching position in the high school 216

PAGE 224

217 English department even while working an her master's degree fran 1983 to 1985 at the thiversity of Florida. Before graduating, she was inducted into the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. After graduating, she and her husband traveled to the Greek islands. As a Florida educator, Claire helped with the State Assessment Test in Tallahassee. She has also been a participant in the Florida Simmer Invitational Writing Program at the University of Florida and, thus, became the Bradford High SChool writing OJnsultant. She is a rne,:nhpr of Delta Kappa Gamna, an international society of wcmen educators. Claire attended two CLASP conferences and has been a grader for the Florida teachers' test. As an adjunct professor, she taught ENC 1101 for Santa Fe Ccmnunity College and American literature for Nova University. For her church she was c.c.D. director, vice-president of its council, and president of its wanens guild. During the two years in which she worked cm her doctoral degree, Claire was a teaching assistant for the university and taught two sections of~ 1102. She bas been listed in Who's Who in American F.ducation since 1989 and is listed in Who's Who in the south and SOuthWest for 1991-92. Claire won the first 'Walen's Studies scholarship fran the l.hiversity of Florida in 1991.

PAGE 225

I certify that I have read this study and that in~ opinion it cx>nforns to acceptable standards of scholarly presentaticn and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. I certify that I have read this study and that rrrJ} opinicn it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly present t and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertaticn for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Donald Ault Professor of F.nglish I certify that I have read this study and that in~ opiniai it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertaticn for the degree of nx:tor of Philosophy. Ira Clark Professor of F.nglish I certify that I have read this study and that in~ opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertaticn for the degree of nx:tor of Philosophy. ~j;;M~ Baltasar Fra-Moli~ Assistant Professor of RaDance Languages I certify that I have read this study and that in~ opinicn it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertatiai for the degree of nx:tor of Philosophy. Marie Nelson Professor of F.nglish

PAGE 226

'lllis dissertation was sul:mitted to the Graduate Faculty Of the Departnent of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate SChool and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements far the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. December 1991 Dean, Graduate School

PAGE 227

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA II I II IIIIII Ill Ill lllll lllll II llllll 11111111111111111111111111111 3 1262 08553 4922