Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Mirk's Festial, Edited from British Library MS Cotton Claudius A.II

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Mirk's Festial, Edited from British Library MS Cotton Claudius A.II

Article excerpt

John Mirk's Festial, Edited from British Library MS Cotton Claudius A.II, Vol. I, ed. Susan Powell, Early English Text Society, Original Series 334 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). cxlv + 188 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-957849-8. £70.00. The Festial is a late fourteenth-century collection of sermons composed by the Augustinian canon John Mirk. Aimed at the parish priest, it was intended to offer a supply of 'ready-to-preach' sermons (p. xxix) for saints' days and other festivals. Susan Powell's welcome edition of the text is the second to be prepared for the Early English Text Society: the first, never completed after its editor, Theodor Erbe, died in action in the First World War, has until now provided reading access to this important sermon cycle. Erbe's edition (the first and only part, containing the text, was published in 1905) conveys litde sense of the Festials complex textual tradition and its extensive dissemination in both manuscript and print.

Powell's edition is planned as two volumes; the first, presented here, contains fortynine sermons for saints' days and other festival occasions following the chronology of the Church's year from Advent and St Andrew's Day (30 November) to St Mary Magdalene's Day (22 July), along with a lengthy introduction; volume Il will contain sermons 50-68 and six additional sermons, the explanatory notes, and glossary. …

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