The Syon Abbey Society and the ReVision Project
Birgittine Texts and Networks
International Medieval Congress, 3-6 July 2023 in Leeds
St Birgitta’s Revelations circulated widely and exercised significant influence in England until the Reformation. Reflecting and complementing the popularity of the Swedish saint, Syon Abbey, the sole Birgittine foundation in the country, promoted a comprehensive programme of pastoral outreach rooted in vernacular preaching and printing. The reputation of the abbey reached its zenith in the sixteenth century as a popular pilgrimage destination, site for obtaining pastoral direction, and centre for the production of devotional literature. The renown of the abbey, however, was anchored in a distinctive spirituality that was promoted in Birgitta’s visions and in the priest-brothers’ literary output—all of which enjoyed a broad readership through diverse networks of circulation and exchange.
As a thematic strand within this year’s IMC 2023 theme of “Networks and Entanglements,” we invite paper proposals on a broad range of topics that explore issues related to the influence, transmission, and circulation of texts by Birgitta and the Birgittines of Syon Abbey which promoted the popularity of the Swedish Saint, her community, and Birgittine spirituality.
Topics include but are not limited to the following:
- Birgitta, Birgittines and female piety
- text, devotion, and reading practice
- manuscript transmission
- texts the nuns read
- networks of readers and dissemination of texts
- Birgittine texts and the post-Reformation community
Sponsored by the Syon Abbey Society (www.syonabbeysociety.com), director Brandon Alakas, and the ReVision Project: “St. Birgitta and her Revelations in Medieval England,” funded by the Norwegian Research Council, PI Laura Saetveit Miles.