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Word Count: 2,220
The bleding continued a while til it migt be sene with avisement And this was so plenteous to my sight that methowte if it had be so in kind and in substance for that tyme it should have made the bed al on blode and a passid over aboute1 This passage which I affectionately refer to as the bloodbath scene is from Julian of Norwichs description of Christs bleeding during the Crucifixion as it was revealed to her in the Fourth Showing While none of her renderings in A Revelation of Divine Love lack graphic specificity I cite this passage as a particularly obvious example of Julians penchant for enthusiastic description Having received the vision while she lay ill Julian suggests that if it were present in actuality as it was in the Showing Christs blood would have saturated the bed she was confined to and overflowed By allowing vision to spill into reality Julian makes a crude but carefully wrought mess that I offer to you as an example of rude strength2 Rude strength is a term I learned from Walter Pater who used it in 1873 in his volume of essays titled The Renaissance to describe the essential quality of art in the Middle Ages A fairly ingenuous first-year doctoral student I read Paters description and recognized precisely that quality of the literature of the Middle Ages that I find so compelling Soon enough however it became clear that rude strength was not something Pater meant as a compliment he was giving a description of medieval artistic efforts I have since learned that many who champion the Renaissance are apt to give What Pater was identifying was a lacka lack of conscious aesthetics of a purely artistic quality3 The Middle Ages in his estimation produced art that was unpolished roughhewn I disagree with many of the conclusions Pater comes to concerning medieval art but I still believe it has rude strength
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