Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Robert le Chapelain: Corset: A Rhymed Commentary on the Seven Sacraments

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Robert le Chapelain: Corset: A Rhymed Commentary on the Seven Sacraments

Article excerpt

Robert Le Chapelain: Corset.' A Rhymed Commentary on the Seven Sacraments, ed. K. V. Sinclair, Anglo-Norman Text Society 5 z (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, i995). x + 1 50 pp.; I plate. ISBN o-go f 474-32--5. I1 5 oI 5:oo. Having been some twenty years on the stocks, K. V. Sinclair's edition of this important and hitherto unpublished work fills a long-felt gap on the AngloNormanist's bookshelf The work, dating from around 124o-5o, is `the earliest known account of the seven sacraments in Anglo-Norman', and thus an early representative of the vulgarizing theological literature composed in England in the thirteenth century, under the impetus of the Council of Oxford of 1z zzz. In its present form, the work covers the sacraments of matrimony, holy orders, penance, and extreme unction in that (comparatively uncommon) order. That there are no sections on baptism, confirmation, or the eucharist is due to a lacuna in the manuscript of, in all likelihood, a whole gathering, equivalent to some z,400 lines, or the same length as the surviving portion. This makes it difficult to judge the balance of the work, but it is curious, given the date of its composition and the lay status of its intended readership, that it dwells relatively little on penance and confession (8oo lines), and that it allots so much space (I,ooo lines) to holy orders. Perhaps this tells us something about the interest of the patron of the work. The editor has done some superior detective work in tracking down this seignorAlain, whom he has identified as Alan la Zouche (whose wife Aline would thus be the patroness of the other work ascribed to Robert, the Miroir). …

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