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A neglected copy of John Mirk's Mary Magdalene sermon

By S Powell and O Pickering

Abstract

This article calls attention to a neglected copy of the sermon for the feast of St Mary Magdalene from John Mirk's late-fourteenth-century Middle English sermon collection, the Festial. The copy, contained in London, British Library, MS Cotton Titus A. XXVI, was co"ectly identified in 1970, but since then has been ignored by Festial scholars and not recognized by those writing on saints' lives. The discussion of the early-sixteenth-century manuscript places the sermon in the context of the religious and secular works copied with it, and suggests that the compilation may have been made for private or household purposes by a non-professional book producer. Textual analysis reveals the sermon to be distinctive: like some other later versions of Mirk's original, it removes the opening obligation to attend church, but retains the invocation to a plural audience. But the text has also been comprehensively and independently rewritten, with the intention of bringing it up to date in terms of lexis, syntax, and idiom, as is demonstrated by comparison with manuscripts variously representing an early form if the text and other rewritings of Mirk's original

Topics: PN, mem_text_and_place
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:usir.salford.ac.uk:1315
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