Chapter 3. Masculinity
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“It is the quiet shore of contemplation that I set aside for myself, as I lay bare, under the cunning, orderly surface of civilizations, the nurturing horror that they attend to pushing aside by purifying, systematizing, and thinking.” Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror
“The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” Liberace (1919–1987)
Denys of Ryckel, born in either 1402 or 1403, studied in Cologne, and spent the rest of his life in the Carthusian hermitage at Roermond, named Bethlehem Mariae. He left his hermitage, in ruins today, on only two occasions in almost fifty years. Denys experienced frequent ecstasies, visions, and revelations and became known as the doctor ecstaticus of the Carthusian Order.161 He died in 1471, leaving behind a copious body of writing and coveted corporal relics. His studies, combining neoplatonic and thomistic schemata, covered mystical subjects such as contemplation, prayer, and meditation. Several decades after his death, his literary output was edited and printed by the Cologne Carthusian house, the largest Carthusian monastery in Germany, whose highly educated members devoted their efforts to disseminating mystical texts and traditions. Through these editorial and publishing efforts, Denys became so ← 45 | 46 → widely known and respected that the Bollandists bestowed upon him the epithet, ‘Qui Dionysium legit, nihil non legit’ (“To read Dionysius is to read everything”).162 In subsequent centuries, his reputation suffered the ebb and flow of scholarly and ecclesiastical interests in Christian mysticism. His writings experienced a revival...
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