Imagined Journeys: Literary Paradigms for Pilgrimage to Holy People

Georgia Frank

in The Memory of the Eyes

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2000 | ISBN: 9780520222052
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924352 | DOI:
Imagined Journeys: Literary Paradigms for Pilgrimage to Holy People

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This chapter focuses on Christian works describing travel to a divine and somewhat embodied presence. In particular, it analyzes the traveler's perspective in otherworldly journeys, apocalypses, and spiritual treatises on the soul's journey toward God: that is to say, stories with the potential to affect how pilgrims perceived the holy men and women they encountered. The resonances between the “real” journeys that pilgrims describe and the “imagined” journeys recounted in otherworldly and fictionalized accounts are striking in their portrayal of the holy body. This analysis expands the literary resources by which to interpret and reconstruct pilgrims' behaviors and dispositions. When other types of religious and imaginative literature enter the discussion, the pilgrims' spirituality comes into sharper focus. Such connections are easier to establish for pilgrims like Jerome, who both created an idealized pilgrim and left a record of his own travels. It stands to reason, then, that other types of travel narratives shaped pilgrims' renderings of their own experiences. Thus, fabulous journeys provide an important tool for interpreting the experiential dimensions of any pilgrims' account.

Keywords: travel; pilgrims; soul; spirituality; Jerome; narratives

Chapter.  8041 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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