One of the most exciting outputs of our project will be the (long-anticipated!) anthology of late medieval religious writing. ‘Meke Reverence and Devocyon’: A Reader in Late Medieval English Religious Literature will be published at the close of this project by Liverpool University Press and the University of Chicago Press, as part of the Exeter Medieval Texts series. The anthology will make around 100 texts accessible to students and academics alike, some for the first time in modern print. The first part of Meke Reverence will present excerpts of canonical texts alongside lesser-known treatises, sermons and tracts, while the second part will show-case specific manuscripts that circulated within late medieval London which we believe are linked to the lost Guildhall Library. Codicological and palaeographical analysis will allow for a fuller understanding of the manuscript contexts in which late medieval readers would have encountered the materials.
Presenting a range of vernacular devotional texts from between 1325 and 1535, the anthology will be arranged in the thematic patterns of compilation that we see in the London pastoral books of the late medieval period. We will therefore be structuring the first part of the volume as follows:
1. Pastoralia and catechetical instruction
2. Sacramentality and clerical reform
3. Models of communal devotional conduct and practice
4. Affective devotion to Christ and his family
5. Speculative and apophatic theologies
6. Scepticism, doubt and tribulations of faith
7. Spiritual exercises in and out of the cloister
8. Penitential scrutiny and the reformation of the self
9. Death, judgement and last things
We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to establish our corpus of texts – materials that either haven’t been published in over a century, or reside in obscure unpublished theses or hidden away within the hundreds of codices just waiting for us to find them. This is where we need your help! Have you been trying to get your hands on a text but can’t find an edition for it? Do you have a text in mind that has been grossly disregarded, just waiting for its moment to shine? Please get in touch! We’d love to hear your suggestions.
For the next several weeks, we’ll be going into each section in a bit more detail, sharing materials that we think will be important for scholars to get a hold of, alongside the canonical texts that we already know and love: we would be delighted to hear of any hidden gems you might have spotted on your travels into the archives and stacks.