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Convent AutobiographyEarly Modern English Nuns in Exile$
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Victoria Van Hyning

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266571

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266571.001.0001

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Accounting, Chronicling, and Subsumed Autobiography

Accounting, Chronicling, and Subsumed Autobiography

(p.176) 4 Accounting, Chronicling, and Subsumed Autobiography
Convent Autobiography

Victoria Van Hyning

British Academy

This chapter attends to the complex interplay between a convent’s financial and spiritual health, arguing that the sustained emphasis and anxieties about convent finances within the first anonymous stint of the ‘Chronicles of Nazareth’ stem from the author’s complex fiduciary responsibilities. Using a combined analysis of prosopographical, manuscript, and textual data, this chapter argues that Grace Constable, long-term financial officer and Subprioress of Nazareth, was the first chronicler of the convent and that her financial responsibilities, the convent’s precarious beginning, and her learning a proper form of accounting directly resulted in her creation of the chronicle. Constable’s stint is a radically different example of subsumed autobiography from that presented in the previous chapter, concerning the ‘Chronicle of St Monica’s’. The legacy of her historical, financial, and spiritual accounting practices trickles down through the centuries of the ‘Chronicles of Nazareth’, as subsequent generations attempted to account for their convent’s fortunes and hardships.

Keywords:   accounting, convent, finances, chronicle, anonymity

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