Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich
Amy Laura Hall, associate professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book offering an impassioned, analytic, and irreverent reading of the medieval visionary known as Julian of Norwich, believed to be the first woman to have written a book in English. This is Hall’s fourth book in four distinct genres.
The book, Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich, was published by Duke University Press in August. In the book, Hall connects revelations Julian wrote that she received from God to “Game of Thrones, West Texas, barfing bears, divorce, and Machiavelli,” according to reviewer Karen Kilby, professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University. Julian’s text, Revelations of Divine Love, was written in the late 1300s to early 1400s and presents a vision of God that came to her on what she and others thought was her deathbed.
In Laughing at the Devil, Hall emphasizes Julian's call to laugh as one way this early visionary received a gift of courage during a time of fear. Through her visions, Julian saw that everyone and everything that ever was, and ever will be, is held safe by God in love.
Hall, who is beginning her 20th year on faculty at Duke after graduating with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University in 1999, is the author of three other books: Kierkegaard and the Treachery of Love, a close reading of Kierkegaard’s texts on love; Conceiving Parenthood: The Protestant Spirit of Biotechnological Reproduction, a cultural reading of race and aspirational culture in the U.S.; and Writing Home with Love: Politics for Neighbors and Naysayers, a collection of accessible, political essays published in the Durham Herald-Sun.
Listen to an Aug. 9 interview with Professor Hall about the book on WUNC North Carolina Public Radio’s "The State of Things."
Read a Q&A featuring Hall posted on the Duke University Press website Aug. 20.