The Cloud of Unknowing

Guide: Reverend Dr. Emma Pennington, a Canon of Canterbury Cathedral.

Transcript Notes Further Resources

Recommended Resources

Extracts from the Cloud of Unknowing in Middle English, for those who want to see it in the original. The page links to a full edition of the text in the original language:

http://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/primary-source-73-the-cloud-of-unknowing.pdf


There is a free, LibriVox audio recording of the work. It is a well-read performance of Evelyn Underhill’s translation:

https://librivox.org/the-cloud-of-unknowing-by-anonymous


The Canterbury Cathedral YouTube page, where you can find Emma Pennington’s series ‘The English Mystics’:

https://www.youtube.com/@CanterburyCathedralOfficial


Information about Mount Grace Priory from the National Churches Trust:

https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/church/mount-grace-priory-northallerton


Images of the stained-glass windows at Fairford Church:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/fairford-stained-glass-demons


Rev Dr. Emma Pennington recommended the following books.

Darkness of God by Denys Turner. A discussion of the apophatic, or negative, tradition of Christian mysticism. It is not cheap, so look out for second-hand copies. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkness-God-Negativity-Christian-Mysticism/dp/0521645611

English Medieval Mystics: Games of Faith by Marion Glasscoe, which explores the nature of mystical writing, examining in turn the five major English mystics of the fourteenth century.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/English-Medieval-Mystics-Longman-Renaissance/dp/0582495172

Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism. It includes essays on different eras and texts, spanning the whole of the medieval period.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cambridge-Companion-Mysticism-Companions-Literature/dp/0521618649/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2O950R8RZ6NAH&keywords=cambridge+companion+to+medieval+english+mysticism&qid=1680710723&s=books&sprefix=cambridge+companion+to+medieval+english+mysticism%2Cstripbooks%2C150&sr=1-1

Emma’s enthusiasm for Julian of Norwich is obvious and infectious. It might be interesting to read Julian’s Revelations of Divine Love to observe the similarities and differences with the Cloud.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Revelations-Divine-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199641188/ref=sr_1_2?crid=KRRF6FE4QC0P&keywords=revelations+of+divine+love&qid=1680711011&s=books&sprefix=revelations+of+divine+lov%2Cstripbooks%2C167&sr=1-2

A free online edition is available from Project Gutenberg:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/52958/52958-h/52958-h.htm

Emma’s book may be found here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/At-Foot-Cross-Julian-Norwich/dp/0857465198/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1KQAZCYWK7SOB&keywords=emma+pennington&qid=1680711020&s=books&sprefix=emma+pennington%2Cstripbooks%2C113&sr=1-1

Another work written to an aspiring contemplative at around the same period is Richard Rolle’s The Form of Perfect Living. Again, it makes an interesting point of comparison with the Cloud:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/25856/25856-h/25856-h.htm

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Living-Other-Prose-Treatises/dp/1785161237

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