Near Death Feeling

When reading Julian of Norwich’s text “A Revelation of Love,” I was mildly surprised at the lack of feeling in her depiction of what transpired on her sick bed. Instead of employing flowery language and adjective laden descriptions, she seems to be merely listing out the events that occurred. Indeed, the text opens with a simple list of the sixteen visions that she witnessed. This list does not serve to elicit feeling from the reader, but rather informs them of the details to come in a manner that is formal and businesslike. Following this introduction, Julian repeatedly uses phrases like “I saw,” and “I beheld,” which makes the text feel less like a narrative, and more like a formal description. Coupled with the knowledge that Julian spent her later days as an anchoress, I was surprised at the lack of fervor and feeling present in her depiction. I wonder if this is due to societal expectations for her writing quality, though that is merely a guess.

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