A Companion to 'The Doctrine of the Hert'
The Middle English Translation and its Latin and European Contexts
Edited by Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead
Subjects: Medieval Studies
The Doctrine of the Hert was the fifteenth-century English translation of De doctrina cordis, the thirteenth-century Latin devotional treatise addressed to nuns. The text progressively pairs the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit with seven key actions of the heart, leading readers toward contemplative unity with God. The text was a religious bestseller. It circulated widely throughout Europe between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries and was translated into numerous vernacular versions.
This book consists of ten essays from an international group of scholars of medieval religion discussing the Middle English text alongside its Latin forebear, and other European vernacular translations (French, German, Spanish and Middle Dutch).
Despite its medieval popularity, The Doctrine of the Hert has largely escaped the attention of scholars until recently. Yet it has much to offer regarding our understanding of late medieval female spirituality. University of Exeter Press’s new edition (published June 2009) opens up the field by providing access to the text, and this companion further establishes scholarship on this text
Contents: Acknowledgements; List of Abbreviations. Notes on Editors and Contributors; Introduction; Denis Renevey, University of Lausanne & Christiania Whitehead, University of Warwick; Part One: De doctrina cordis; The Authorship of the De doctrina cordis; Nigel Palmer, University of Oxford; De doctrina cordis: Catechesis or Contemplation?; Christiania Whitehead, University of Warwick; Part Two: The Doctrine of the Hert; The Doctrine of the Hert: A Middle English Translation of De doctrina cordis; Anne Elizabeth Mouron, University of Oxford; 'Comfortable Wordis' - The Role of the Bible in The Doctrine of the Hert; Annie Sutherland, University of Oxford; Meat, Metaphor and Mysticism: Cooking the Books in The Doctrine of the Hert; Vincent Gillespie, University of Oxford; The Middle English Doctrine of the Hert and its Manuscript Context; Catherine Innes-Parker, University of Prince Edward Island, United States; Part Three: European Vernacular Translations; The French Translations of De doctrina cordis; Anne Elizabeth Mouron, University of Oxford; A Middle Dutch Translation of De doctrina cordis: de bouc van der leeringhe van der herten in Vienna, Osterreichischen National Bibliothek, MS 15231; Marleen Cre, University of Antwerp, Belguim; De doctrina cordis and fifteenth-century ecclesial reform: Reflections on the context of the German vernacular versions; Karl-Heinz Steinmetz, University of Vienna, Austria; The Spanish Translation: Del ensenamiento del coracon (Salamanca, 1498); Anthony John Lappin, University of Manchester; Bibliography; Index.
'The edition is intended to be used alongside A Companion to the Doctrine of the Hert: The Middle English Translation and its Latin and European Contexts, edited by Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead (Exeter, 2010). These volumes represent a very significant and welcome contribution to medieval scholarship and will undoubtedly influence much future work on vernacular religious writings.' (The Doctrine of the Hert: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary, Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIX, 2010)
'An unusually coherent collection of essays.' (Journal of the Early Book Society, 2011)
'This is an outstanding collection.' (Analecta Cartusiana, No 293)
‘These insightful and rigorous essays, accompanying the new critical edition of The doctrine of the hert, will restore attention to an important family of devotional works.’
‘The Companion combines a valuable introduction to this largely neglected group of texts with a particular focus on the Middle English Doctrine. The authors are in productive conversation with eachother, and the volume is clearly introduced and nicely cross-referenced.’ (Ecclesiastical History 63.2, April 2012)
‘These two complementary volumes together fill a major gap in the ever-burgeoning fields of late medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality.’
‘Students of medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality will want to own the Companion as well as the edition of The Doctrine of the Hert.’ (Medieval Feminist Forum, 48.1, November 2012, Robert Sturges)
Denis Renevey is Professor of Old and Medieval English Literature and Language at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He has published widely in the field of vernacular theology and female religious writings. Christiania Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Warwick. Her fields of interest lie in medieval allegory and female spirituality.