Julian of Norwich: A Very Brief History
Saturday 15 October 2016
Blenheim Palace, The GalleryVenue
Art historian and broadcaster Dr Janina Ramirez looks at the life of Julian of Norwich – a 14th-century Christian mystic who wrote the first book in the English language known to be by a woman – whose work re-emerged in the 20th century as an iconic text for the women’s movement.
Very little is known about Julian of Norwich, even her name. Her common name is believed to derive from a ‘cell’, built into the wall of the Church of St Julian in Norwich, where she lived in religious seclusion. She had a series of visions of Jesus Christ when near death with illness in 1373. After recovering, she recounted the visions in The Revelations of Divine Love, the oldest known written work in English by a woman. Ramirez recently presented a BBC documentary about the life of Julian of Norwich in which she showed how Julian presented an alternative vision of man’s relationship with God that was fundamentally different to the church’s view at that time. The book was suppressed but survived and re-emerged in the 20th century where it was seen as a literary masterpiece and as an iconic text by the women’s movement. Ramirez tells the story of how the book survived and of the brave women that championed it. This event will include excerpts from the BBC documentary.
Ramirez teaches history of art at the University of Oxford. She has presented and written six BBC history documentaries and is a regular guest on the BBC 4 series Quizeum.
Sponsored by University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education.
In association with BBC Four.