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Review of "The Wisdom of the Beguines" by Laura Swan

Review from Goodreads.com :

A good overview of the Beguines, who were women who heeded a spiritual calling but did not become nuns from roughly the 12th to 18th centuries in Europe. Beguines lived in communities ("Cities of Ladies"), supported themselves through crafts such as lace-making and professions such as teaching. They took no vows, but lived lives of simplicity and regular spiritual practices such as study of scripture, helping the poor, prayer, and fasting.

Swan's book is a bit dry and could benefit from some maps and photographs of beguinages, but it is well researched and clearly written. Scholars would like a few more citations throughout, but there is a good selection of sources for the reader's further inquiry. This book is worth having if for nothing more than the engaging portrait of a noble woman (not a Beguine, but from that era) on the cover. Roger van der Weyden's Portrait of a Woman in a White Headdress is hypnotic, intriguing, and more captivating even than the Mona Lisa. Look into those eyes and heed that smile if you would know women's experience of religion and life itself in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement by Laura Swan. BlueBridge, Katonah, New York. 2014


Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 10:17AM by Registered CommenterLinda Brown Holt | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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