A collection of essays examining the reading and reception of
devotional texts in medieval England, from representations of
readers and reading in devotional texts, to manuscripts and early
books as devotional objects.
This volume recognises that religious writings care deeply about how devotional reading takes place, providing models for improving reading as a way of improving one’s ability to worship. The abundant evidence from medieval England suggests a deep interest among devotional writers in documenting, teaching, and circumscribing devotional reading, given the importance of careful reading practices for salvation. This volume therefore draws together a wide range of interests in and approaches to studying the reading and reception of devotional texts in medieval England, from representations of readers and reading in devotional texts, to literary production and reception of devotional texts and images, to manuscripts and early books as devotional objects, to individual readers and patrons of devotional texts.
Prefaced by a substantial introduction by the editors – setting the community in its wider religious and cultural environment and against the backdrop of broad historiographical trends – this volume brings together substantial essays based on original research by new and leading scholars in the field of medieval English studies. This collection (and indeed, many of the individual articles) brings into dialogue a number of traditional disciplinary approaches – early and late medieval English literary studies, gender studies, manuscript studies, and religious studies. It strives to reflect trends in current scholarship of breaking down disciplinary boundaries and exploring the relationships between and among not only analytical and critical perspectives, but also the kinds of evidence examined.
Introduction: Devotional Reading in Late Medieval England: Problems of Definition – SUSAN USELMANN
Representations of Reading
‘Þe lettere sleeþ’: Lollards, Literalism, and the Definition of Bad Readers – ANNA LEWIS
Speculum vitae and ‘Lewed’ Reading –
Representing Reading in Dives and Pauper – ELIZABETH SCHIRMER
The Practice of Reading
Meditative Reading and the Vespers Antiphon in the Monastic Office for Saint Cuthbert – KARMEN LENZ
Lectio Divina and Scriptural Reading in Syon’s Vernacular Printed Books – C. ANNETTE GRISÉ
A Matter of Convenience: Nicholas Love’s Mirror of Private Devotional Reading – SUSAN USELMANN
Printing, Propaganda, and Profit: Richard Pynson and the Life of St Radegund – CHRISTINA M. CARLSON
‘For the prouffyte of other’: Lady Margaret Beaufort and the Female Reader as Translator in The Mirrour of Golde to the Synfull Soule – STEPHANIE MORLEY
Bodleian Library MS Holkham Miscellany 41 and the Modelling of Women’s Devotion – CATHERINE INNES-PARKER
Afterword: Adaptation, Negotiation, and Transformation – C. ANNETTE GRISÉ