Richard Rolle, Emendatio vitae: Amendinge of Lyf, a Middle English translation, edited from Dublin, Trinity College, MS 432
Kempster, J. H. (2007). Richard Rolle, Emendatio vitae: Amendinge of Lyf, a Middle English translation, edited from Dublin, Trinity College, MS 432 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2578
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2578
Emendatio vitae was the most widely copied of all Richard Rolle’s writings in fourteenth and fifteenth-century England, and yet in modern scholarship this important work and its early audience have received comparatively little scholarly attention. My aim has been to address this lacuna by producing an edition of one of the seven Middle English translations of the text - Amendinge of Lyf - with notes and glossary. In an introductory study I adopt a dual focus: Rolle’s intended audience, and the actual early readers of this particular Middle English translation. Firstly, I conclude that Rolle may have intended Emendatio vitae as a work of ‘pastoralia’, for secular priests, and therefore with a wider audience of the laity also in mind. This being the case, it demonstrates that the adaptation of traditionally eremitic contemplative writings for a general audience, so widespread in the fifteenth-century, was already stirring in Rolle’s day. Secondly, I look in detail at a specific crosssection of Rolle’s early readership: a translator, several scribes and correctors, and other early readers and owners. The striking thing about this segment of the text’s reception is its breadth, including a priest, a number of prominent lay women and men, and by the end of the fifteenth-century also Dominican and Benedictine nuns.
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