Last Illness and Death in the Pious Biographies of the 17th Century Catholic Englishwomen
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Last Illness and Death in the Pious Biographies of the 17th Century Catholic Englishwomen
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Anna Seregina 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The article presents the analysis of the representations of last illness and death in the biographies of the 17th century Englishwomen, namely, that of Magdalene Browne, Viscountess of Montague, Elizabeth Cary, Viscountess of Falkland, Dorothy Lawson, Anne Howard, Countess of Arundel, Mary Ward, and Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria. It has been shown that all texts under consideration combined elements of the Late Medieval vernacular tradition of the ars moriendi, which is characterized by the absence of detailed descriptions of physical suffering, and of the post-Tridentine devotions that saw the images of last sufferings as symbols of a soul being freed from the Purgatory, as well as the sign of martyrdom / sainthood. The English texts that aimed at the domestic lay audience demonstrated loyalty to the pre-reformation traditions, while those written by and mostly for Catholic emigres show the influence of the continental religious tradition.

last illness, death, biographies, English Catholics, ars moriendi, Catholic religious culture, sufferings, martyrdom, sainthood
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