All we know about Julian of Norwich has come down to us from her single work A Revelation of Divine Love, a mystical text;  of major importance. She was born c.1342 and apparently died after 1429. On May 8th, 1373 at the age of thirty and a half - so she tells us - she lay ill for three days on the verge of death. During that time she was granted her first sixteen revelations. She had prayed for serious illness long before, since she believed to draw spiritual benefit from it. Being illiterate Julian had her revelations written down by a scribe.

The work exists in two different versions: the earlier and shorter version is a simple record of the mystical experience, while the later text - written twenty years after the events - is a fully developed mystical treatise, which reflects Julian's serious contemplation on her showings. She believed that her seeings were manifestations of Christ's love.

By 1394 she had become a recluse and lived as an anchorite in a cell attached to St. Julian's Conesford in Norwich, although we do not know whether she had been a recluse at the time of her revelations. In 1415, she was visited in Norwich by Margery Kempe, the only other famous medieval English woman writer. Julian's work has often been judged as not much appealing, but as a mystical treatise it is of exceptional interest.

Home > Navigation > Authors > Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich