Book Series Sermo, vol. 11

Preaching the Word in Manuscript and Print in Late Medieval England

Essays in Honour of Susan Powell

Martha Driver, Veronica O'Mara (eds)

  • Pages: 394 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:24 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54185-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54205-8
  • E-book
  • Available

This volume explores the richness of Middle English and Latin material in prose and verse, concerning the preaching of the word of God in late medieval England.


"(...) the essays here each make a substantial contribution to our understanding of the religious culture of late-medieval England." (Holly Johnson, in: Sehepunkte 14 (2014), Nr. 3, 15.03.2014)

"Although aimed at specialists of homiletic and devotional literature, there is something for everyone here. Indeed, many students of medieval and early modern history will be astounded by a number of the implications that emerge from this generous and thought-provoking tribute to one of the leading scholars in the field." (Charles Farris, in: The Ricardian, XXIV (2014), p. 153-156)

"The essays offered in the Studies section of the book (...) touch upon the various manifestations of medieval sermons and preaching and reach beyond traditional sermon material. (...) Each study or text presents a thorough list of the works cited, clearly separating manuscripts, early printed texts, primary sources and secondary studies." (Marjorie Burghart, in: The Medieval Review 15.03.12)

"These texts, as well as the essays, are valuable additions to the growing field of sermon studies and remind us of how necessary editions and manuscript analysis remain for the world of preaching." (Kimberly Rivers, in: The Catholic Historical Review 102, 1, 2016), p. 162-163)

"Martha Driver and Veronica O’Mara’s collection of essays on late medieval sermon literature therefore includes some very enlightening and useful essays, and offers a wide range of perspectives which inform our understanding of numerous facets of late medieval life, notably in terms of shifts in writing, reading, and printing practices. As such, it is a very handy volume of reference for academics interested in medieval sermon literature as well as for scholars of the late medieval period in general." (J. Vuille, in: Scriptorium 2015/01, nr. 224)


The focus of this volume, on Middle English and Latin material in prose and verse, concerns the preaching of the word of God in an expansive sense in late medieval England. This collection of essays explores the multiple ways in which the sermon in England in the later Middle Ages both influenced and was influenced by other devotional and didactic material, both implicitly and explicitly. The essays pay special attention to examples of textual complexity in the sermon as manifested in the manuscript and early printed traditions. By examining sermon technique and methodology contributors present related material that either travels alongside sermons or shares the same preaching or teaching milieu. While analysing sermons and other homiletic material, the essays also explore areas, such as the dating and illustration of incunabula, which have an important bearing on the sermons and devotional literature of the period, but are normally studied in an isolated fashion. These fit in well with the particular emphasis in the collection on the sermon in the early printed period. In addition, attention is paid to some of the ways in which sermon-study was first brought to the fore by late nineteenth-century editors and early twentieth-century commentators. In this way various threads are brought together, new texts and ideas presented, and potential future avenues for research suggested that will continue to be important for an understanding of sermons and related religious literature in late medieval England.



Preface: Susan Powell and the Growing Study of the Middle English Sermon — RONALD WALDRON



G. R. Owst and the Politics of Sermon Studies — DERE K PEARSALL

A Cycle Recycled: Sermons from Carolingian Italy in a Miscellany for Pastoral Care from Fifteenth-Century England — R. N. SWANSON

So Far and Yet So Near: Distance or Proximity of Author and Witness in Manuscripts of John Wyclif ’s Sermons — ANNE HUDSON

The Devil as Narrator of the Life of Christ and the Sermo literarius — WILLIAM MARX

Preaching by Numbers: The Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost in Late Middle English Sermons and Works of Religious Instruction — MARGARET CONNOLLY

Preaching with a Pen: Audience and Self-Regulation in he Writing and Reception of John Mirk and Nicholas Love — JOHN J. THOMPSON

Scribal Performance in a Late Middle English Sermon Cycle — STEPHEN MORRISON

Sacerdotis predicacio operibus confirmanda est: The Lections in the Latin Martiloge of the Syon Brethren — VINCENT GILLESPIE

Punctuating Mirk’s Festial: A Scottish Text and its Implications — JEREMY J. SMITH

Dating Wynkyn de Worde’s Devotional, Homiletic, and Other Texts, 1501–11 — JOSEPH J. GWARA

Preachers in Pictures from Manuscript to Print — MARTHA W. DRIVER

Some Middle English Sermon Verse and its Transmission in Manuscript and Print — JULIA BOFFEY


Preaching in the South English Legendary: A Study and Edition of the Text for All Souls’ Day — OLIVER PICKERING

The Syon Pardon Sermon: Contexts and Texts — KARI ANNE RAND

A Victorian Response to a Fifteenth‑Century Incunabulum: The ‘Boy Bishop’ Sermon and How It Was First Edited — VERONICA O’MARA

Susan Powell: List of Publications — Prepared by Ronald Waldron