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The International Marguerite Porete Society

I visited De Groot Begijnhof (the Great Beguinage) in Leuven quite recently, and whilst the site is integral, its atmosphere is contemporary. The Great Beguinage is used by the Catholic University as a type of student village, with accommodation for visiting professors and students of the university.

There is little evidence that Marguerite of Porete (d. 1310) lived in a Beguinage, although the houses were common in Europe. Marguerite’s text, Le miroir des simples ames anienties et qui seulement demeurent en vouloir et desir d’amour was positively ascribed to her authorship in 1946, although it had been well established that she wrote it from the evidence of her trial for heresy. Marguerite of Porete was of course burnt at the stake by the French Inquisition in 1310.

A beguine (Wikipedia)

The International Marguerite Porete Society


I first became aware of Porete’s writing in 2008-2009 whilst reading What the Curlew Said , by John Moriarty. I transcribed a section of Porete for Poethead and added it here. After my intriguing visit to Leuven’s Beguinage, I revisited Porete’s writing and life, finding to my delight  that a new International Society dedicated to her works was instigated in 2011. Both The International Marguerite Porete Society and International Bibliography on Marguerite Porete are located at this link.

There is an amount of scholarship dedicated to Porete, from scientific article journals, through poetic bibliographies and Wikipedia. Comparisons with Eckhart are general  although authors are at pains to point out that Master Eckhart was posthumously rehabilitated from his excommunication by the Catholic Church. Porete has suffered with obscurity. One hopes that the Porete Society will contribute to the recognition of Porete’s great text and of her life and writings. The Society is open and based in a creative commons cc-by-sa licence , which I believe to be very innovative, and I wish that more scholars made use of these licences for cultural purposes.

I am adding here a list of Porete Links and bibliography for readers who may be interested in the Beguines, Porete, and in this era of writing.

Edit : 30/07/2012

Marguerite Porete et son livre dans la littérature & culture moderne 

• Marguerite Porete and her book in modern literature & culture • Margherita Porete e il suo libro nella letteratura e cultura moderna • Marguerite Porete und ihr Buch in der modernen Literatur & Kultur.
Balzac,Honoré de. “Les proscrits (études philosophiques)” in Le colonel Chabert (scènes de la vie privée), Le curé de Tours (scènes de la vie de province), Contes: Les proscrits, El Verdugo. Paris: Jean Gillequin, 1912, p. 143-174, especially p. 147. [Dated 1831. Fiction set in Paris in 1308, just after [sic] the burning of “la Porrette,” which event, along with fog, contibutes to Romantic-era atmosphericness.]Bédard, Jean. Marguerite Porete, l’inspiration de Maître Eckhart. Montréal: VLB Editeur, 2012. [A novel classified as science-fiction/fantasy.] Bobin, Christian. Le Très-Bas. Paris: Gallimard, 1992.

Camp, Kate. The Mirror of Simple Annihilated Souls. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press, 2010. [Poetry.]

Carson, Anne. Decreation: Poetry, Essays, Opera. (“An Opera in Three Parts”). New York: Knopf, 2005; Vintage Contemporaries, 2006.

Carson, Anne. The Mirror of Simple Souls: An Opera Installation Libretto. The Kenyon Review, New Series 24.1 (Winter 2002): 58-69. On JSTOR.

Coverley, M. D. [Marjorie Luesebrink]. “The White Wall: Reframing the Mirror.” Currents in Electronic Literacy 5 (Fall 2001). University of Texas at Austin. Online.

Crespy Le Prince, Charles Edouard de. Chroniques sur les cours de France dédiées à M. le vicomte de Chateaubriand par le baron de Crespy-Le-Prince. Paris: Roux et Cassanet, 1843. On Gallica. [Qualifions ces “chroniques” de fiction.]

Dalglish, Cass. Nin. Duluth, MN: Spinsters Ink, 2000.

Daly, Catherine. “In Medias Res: Five poems, freely adapted from Marguerite Porete / Porette of Hainault [sic] / de Hannonia,” in DaDaDa. London: Salt Publications, 2003. Table of contents and sample.

Del dominio umanitario e della civile barbarie. Paderno Dugnano: Colibri, 1999. [Symbolically attributed to “Margherita Porete” and Jonathan W. Loguen.]

Dörge-Heller, W. “Der Spiegel der einfachen Seelen. Requiem für Marguerite Porete. Sprechstück mit Tanzchoreographien & musikalischen Interpretationen.” [“The Mirror of Simple Souls: Requiem for Marguerite Porete. Spoken Word Performance with Dance Choreography and Musical Interpretation.”] Choreography by Tuja Heller. Karlsruhe, February 28, 2002. Online.

Dube, Christopher. “Marguerite Porete’s House of Fire.” Mystics Quarterly 28 Part 3 (2002): 154. [Poem.]

Follett, Ken. World Without End. New York: Penguin, 2010. [Sequel to The Pillars of the Earth.]

Huysmans, Joris-Karl. Sainte Lydwine de Schiedam. 10th ed. Paris: Stock, 1901. Online. [Cette représentation de Marguerite Porete est fantaisiste à tel point qu’il vaut mieux classer ce texte parmi les œuvres de création littéraire.]

Luesebrink, Marjorie → Coverley, M. D.

Maillet, Caroline. Le roman athlétique de Enlila Apkalu. Paris?: Publibook, 2011.

Lupus, P. Sufenas Virius. All-Soul, All-Body, All-Love, All-Power: A TransMythology. Anacortes, WA: Red Lotus Library, 2012. Section 3, p. 48. [Poetry.]

Lupus, P. Sufenas Virius. Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor’s Notes, vol 1. Anacortes, WA: Red Lotus Library, 2011. Section 3, p. 49, 137-38, 168. [Spirituality/poetry.]

Maitland, Karen. The Owl Killers: A Novel. Delacorte Press, 2009; Bantam Books, 2010.

Moriarty, John. What the Curlew Said: Nostos Continued. Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2007. p. 65, 335, 365… [Autobiography/ spirituality.]
Perez, Pedro Julio. Vientos de Olvido: Peregrinaje entre crónicas y leyendas. 2008.

The addition of What the Curlew Said by John Moriarty to the Bibliography of http://www.margueriteporete.net , with thanks to Zan Kocher