Book Series Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance , vol. 9

The Middle English 'Mirror'

An Edition Based on Bodleian Library, MS Holkham misc. 40

Kathleen Blumreich Moore (ed)

  • Pages: 558 p.
  • Size:155 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English, Middle English
  • Publication Year:2003

  • € 45,00 EXCL. VAT RETAIL PRICE
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-51438-3
  • Hardback
  • Available


Blumreich argues that the sermon exempla (dedicated to 'Aline' in order to remedy her romantic tendencies) assert different, but not particularly better, virtues than what she might have gleaned from a romance, especially when these moral tales are considered from a feminist perspective.

Summary

Robert de Gretham's Mirror is a collection of sixty sermons for Sundays and feast-days throughout the liturgical year. Originally composed in Anglo-Norman (c. 1250-1300), and later translated into Middle English, the texts was dedicated to 'Aline', a lady of high status whose literary tastes ran more towards romaunces & gestes than prayer books. In an attempt to remedy the situation, Gretham proposed that Aline read the Mirror instead. In it, Gretham argued, she would surely find material more profitable for the soul than stories of 'Tristrem [or] Gy of Warrewyk'. The question is this: did Aline find 'better' stories among the tales included in the Mirror? Through an analysis of Gretham's clerical discourse, Blumreich argues that the sermon exempla intended for Aline's spiritual improvement assert different, but not particularly better, virtues than what she might have gleaned from a romance, especially when these moral tales are considered from a feminist perspective.