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Learn to live and learn to die: Heinrich Suso's Scire Mori in fifteenth century England

Westlake, Elizabeth (1993)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis is centred on the second chapter of the second book of Heinrich Suso's Horologium Sapientiae, the chapter entitled De Scientie Utilissima Homini Mortali quae est Scire Mori, in its three Middle English translations. Two of these are here edited for the first time: the first, here entitled The Lichfield Translation, from Lichfield Cathedral MS 16, and the second, To Kunne Deie; from Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodleian 789 and Glasgow University Library, Hunter 496. Suso's life and works are briefly described together with the date of the entry of the Horologiun Sapientiae into England and the production of the three Middle English translations drawing on this work, one of which is a re-working of the Horologium incorporating the Scire Mori. chapter, the other two (those here edited) translations of this chapter alone. The circulation and ownership in England of the Horologium Sapientiae and of the three translations are also outlined. There follows a detailed examination of the Scire Mori chapter in its three Middle English forms, which endeavours to demonstrate how the text recommends meditation upon death as an efficacious method by which to promote repentance. This argument is further extended by a consideration of the manuscript context in which the three translations appear. The liturgical rites surrounding death as they appear in the Sarum Manuale are also examined in order to shed further light on the way in which the experience and spectacle of death were conceptualised in medieval spirituality. Finally, the conclusions reached in the course of these considerations are examined in the light of recent critical works on medieval attitudes towards death. Detailed descriptions of the eighteen manuscripts containing Middle English translations of Suso's Horologium Sapientiae form one Appendix to the thesis; a second comprises brief descriptions of manuscripts written in England containing the work in Latin.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Edden, Valerie
School/Faculty:Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Department:School of English
Subjects:B Philosophy (General)
BR Christianity
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:2825
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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