Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Book for a Simple and Devout Woman: A Late Middle English Adaptation of Peraldus's Summa De Vitiis et Virtutibus and Friar Laurent's Somme le Roi, Edited from British Library MSS

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Book for a Simple and Devout Woman: A Late Middle English Adaptation of Peraldus's Summa De Vitiis et Virtutibus and Friar Laurent's Somme le Roi, Edited from British Library MSS

Article excerpt

Book for a Simple and Devout Woman.- A Late Middle English Adaptation of Peraldus's Summa de vitfis et virtutibus and Friar Laurent's Somme le roi, Editedfrom British Librag MSY HarIg 6f7i and Additional joR44, ed. F. N. M. Diekstra, Mediaevalia Groningana z4 (Groningen: Egbert Forsten, 1998). xii + 598 pp.; z plates. ISBN go-698o-i 15-9. $85-00

The proportions indicate that this is a major scholarly endeavour: only zz7 Of the book's more than 6oo pages are occupied by the edited text itself. On the other pages F. N. M. Diekstra has provided a rich apparatus including manuscript descriptions, linguistic analyses and profiles of the manuscripts, a (lengthy) list of significant variant readings (the Harley manuscript has been chosen for the base text, as offering the earlier, more complete version of the work and, usually, superior textual quality), an index of biblical quotations, and an extensive glossary. There are reflections on questions of audience (the title the editor has provided for the work is based on the Latin end-note in Harley 657 1 where we read 'Iste liber factus facrat pro instruccione cuiusdam mulieris simplicis et deuote', but it seems that a wider audience than just this lady was being aimed at), authorship (anon. and not many clues, though Add. 30944's variants suggest Lotlardy), and date of composition (c.1400). Ali this is very welcome, but perhaps the most impressive achievement of this edition is in relation to the sources on which the author of the Book, or perhaps rather the compiler, relied. Here Diekstra's learning and labour show to great advantage as borrowings and parallels (some of the related texts may be analogues rather than sources or derivates of the Book) of both a direct and a more remote kind are charted across a wide range of texts. …

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