Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Julian of Norwich: 'Showing of Love': Extant Texts and Translation

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Julian of Norwich: 'Showing of Love': Extant Texts and Translation

Article excerpt

Julian of Norwich: 'Showing of Love': Extant Texts and Translation, ed. Sister Anna Maria Reynolds, CP, and Julia Bolton Holloway (Florence: Sismel - Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2001). xvi + 848 pp.; 18 plates. ISBN 88-8450-095-8. euro191.09.

The four principal surviving traditions of the text of julian of Norwich are presented in this volume, diplomatically transcribed and printed in a format that, at least for two manuscripts, reproduces the ruled lines, long 's', and punctuation of the manuscript page. Three of the texts are printed with an en-face modern English translation, and all four are prefaced by an introduction.

The order in which the four texts are presented in the book is an important part of its argument. First is printed the Westminster manuscript (W), usually dated c. 1500 and taken to derive from an exemplar skilfully put together out of extracts from the Longer Version. Here, its exclusions of material and the Arabic numeral date '1368' below the text at the foot of the first recto, are taken (by Julia Bolton Holloway, but not Sister Anna Maria Reynolds) as evidence that its exemplar was either a version of Julian's text deriving from before her 1373 visions, or an attempt to reconstruct it (p. 9), but the authenticity and status of the '1368' date, or why such a version might have been written, are not addressed.

Second comes the Paris manuscript (P), which is dated on the basis of watermarks (by A. I. Doyle, as reported here) to c. 1580, written probably in Flanders and possibly at Antwerp (thus antedating the 1623 foundation of the English Benedictine house at Cambrai, with which P has sometimes been associated). This is a significant revision of P's likely date, although it does not undo the modernization of language that has counted against P with modern editors. …

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