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Grant number like: FT-56354-08

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Anna Harrison
Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA 90045-2650)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 8/31/2008

"Thousands and Thousands of Lovers": Community and the Holy Dead at the Thirteenth-Century Monastery of Helfta

My research focuses on the sense of community between the living and the dead in heaven as this is articulated by the thirteenth-century Cistercian nuns of Helfta, in Saxony. My research depends on the literature produced at Helfta, which constitutes the largest single body of writings authored by women in the thirteenth century, and much of which was collaboratively composed by the nuns with little discernible male involvement. Modern attitudes toward and beliefs about the dead continue to be of utmost importance in our experience of the world; they are influenced by a long history of complex notions toward the dead and about their relationship (or lack of relationship) to the living. Threaded throughout the Helfta writings is the insistence that the dead are of utmost significance to the living. My project will consider what the nuns expressed about a subject of singular importance to them, one, moreover, that still stirs our imagination.