Scholars emphasize Julian of Norwich's serenity, contrasting her work and its confidence that “all shall be well” with medieval writing more interested in Hell's torments. This serenity distinguishes her, scholars note, from her contemporaries Chaucer and Langland and their fascination with the world's confusion. Julian's confrontation with an unintelligible, muttering fiend near the end of her book, however, reveals similar anxieties in her own writing. Julian indeed avoids dwelling on eternal punishment, but this incoherent attacker jeopardizes her efforts to interpret her revelations and make sense of the world.

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