Johanna Pollick



Research title

The motif of the wound as a well in art, literature and devotional practice in late medieval England

Research summary

I am researching the literary and pictorial motif of the wounds of Christ as wells or springs in art, literature and devotion in late medieval England. I will first explore the origins, evolution and distribution of this image, and its relationship to the growth of devotion to the Five Wounds and the heart of Christ in the late Middle Ages, particularly within the context of vernacular devotional literature and manuscript illumination. I will then consider miracle accounts, hagiography, and other textual, artistic and archaeological evidence pertaining to holy wells and the mystical and miraculous experiences surrounding them, as well as contemporary medical and theological conceptions of both wounds and wells, such as the works of the fourteenth-century physician John of Arderne, in order to draw conclusions about the functions and significance of this metaphor, and how it informs our understanding of devotion to Christ's wounds and devotional practices surrounding holy wells and springs in the late Middle Ages.


2016-2019: AHRC DTP Studentship