Book Series Medieval Women: Texts and Contexts, vol. 30

The Manere of Good Lyvyng

A Middle English Translation of Pseudo-Bernard’s 'Liber de modo bene vivendi ad sororem'

Anne E. Mouron (ed)

  • Pages: 586 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:1 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Middle English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54566-0
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56277-3
  • E-book
  • Available

St. Bridget of Sweden’s favourite book, the Manere of Good Lyvyng is truly a ‘heauenly pearle’ (Batt) of medieval devotiononal literature.


"Mouron brings together the history of the Latin source and its translation into English in a succinct Introduction, providing the most complete and recent summary of what is known about this text.(...) The reader who is interested primarily in the content of the English text will find it provided in a handsome continuous layout. The reading text is followed by an extensive commentary (...). A number of appendices enhance the usefulness of this edition. (...) Together with an extensive bibliography, these tools make the edition an extremely useful reference work for students both of Middle English prose and of religious advice for women."  (Janice Pinder, in: Parergon, 32.1, 2015, p. 264-265)

“Anne E. Mouron has produced a substantial and impressive edition (…) This significant edition expands the already substantial collection of accessible primary sources in discussions about women’s literate religious practice in the late English Middle Ages.” (Mary Dockray –Miller, in Speculum, 91/3, 2016, p. 828-829)

“(…) Anne Mouron esamina nei dettagli le particolarita linguistiche, le emendazioni operate, il parallelismo di ogni frase con il testo latino, le fonti patristiche. Questi apparati, ma anzitutto il ricco commentario, rendono la lettura del testo agevole anche per i lettori non avvezzi all’inglese medievale. (Cecilia Panti, in Studi Medievali, 57/2, 2016, p. 881)

“(…) Dr. Mouron’s edition offers a substantial contribution to the resources available for the study of late medieval English devotional literature” (Bella Millett, in the Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 116/1, 2017, p. 128)

« (…) A. E. Mouron, en offrant un texte moyen-anglais fiable, accompagné d’une analyse des procédés de traduction, rend service à la communauté des médiévistes et souligne la grande importance du travail éditorial de la discipline pour laquelle elle a fait une contribution non négligeable. » (Stephen Morrison, dans Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 57, 2014, p. 499) 




In recent years, much critical attention has been devoted to medieval texts written for recluses, such as the Life of Christina of Markyate, Aelred’s Institutio reclusarum, and the Ancrene Wisse. The Manere of Good Lyvyng, in contrast, brings the focus back to the conventual life and to the needs of a nun rather than an anchoress.

The Manere of Good Lyvyng is a late Middle English translation of an earlier Latin text, the Liber de modo bene vivendi ad sororem, long attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux. Whether in its Latin form or its Middle English rendering, this work is a fascinating text and one with considerable artistic merit. It is neither a flamboyant text nor one strewn with images such as one encounters in the Ancrene Wisse. It is a quiet text, with the beauty and simplicity of a manuscript perfectly written in an elegant script, where no illustration distracts the reader from its reading.




Transcription: A devoute tretes of holy Saynt Bernard, drawne oute of Latyn into English, callid The Manere of Good Lyvyng


Appendix I. The Three Other Texts in MS Laud misc. 517

Appendix II. Paynell’s translation:

Appendix III. Batt’s translation:

Appendix IV. Tyrwhitt’s translation

Index of Biblical Quotations


Glossary of Proper Names