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

Westlake, Elizabeth (1993). Learn to live and learn to die: Heinrich Suso's Scire Mori in fifteenth century England. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2825


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