Anonymous: Ancrene Wisse [Guide for Anchoresses]

(1884 words)

The Ancrene Wisse or Ancrene Riwle (Guide for Anchoresses) was written in the early thirteenth century, probably in the same centre and for the same audience, possibly by the same author, as the texts of the Katherine and Wooing Groups. It was read throughout the Middle Ages, adapted several times for different audiences, translated into Latin and French and exchanged, quoted and copied into the sixteenth century. It survives in seventeen manuscripts. Internal evidence indicates that the original audience consisted of three well-born sisters who had withdrawn from the world to live in perpetual seclusion as anchoresses. In an ingenious argument centring on a possible anagram, E. J. Dobson speculated that the author might …

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Salih, Sarah. "Ancrene Wisse". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001
[, accessed 05 July 2015.]