Kari Anne Rand
Middle English, Middle English Prose, Late Medieval Manuscripts, Handwriting, Chaucer
1. The Index of Middle English Prose: Manuscripts in the Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
This is a collaborative project with Professor Richard Beadle, St. John’s College, Cambridge. The book will be published by Boydell & Brewer in their Index of Middle English Prose series.
See also my Index of Middle English Prose volumes on
- Manuscripts in the Library of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge (Cambridge, 2001)
- Manuscripts in the Library of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, 2006)
- Manuscripts in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Cambridge, 2009)
- Index of Middle English Prose: Index to Volumes I to XX (Cambridge, 2014)
2. The Middle English Syon Pardon Sermon: Edited from London, British Library MS Harley 2321
This is a collaborative project with Dr Suzanne Paul (St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and Cambridge University Library Manuscripts Department). The book is an edition of a previously unpublished text and will appear as a volume in the Middle English Texts series, published by Universitätsverlag Winter in Heidelberg. The text of the Pardon Sermon is unique except for an incomplete copy of the opening, found in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 156, which consists of only eighteen lines. The full text in MS Harley 2321 covers ninety-one manuscript pages, and although it has the form of a sermon and appears to be aimed at a lay audience, it is patently unpreachable. It is too long, it contains a discussion of all aspects of indulgences with substantial passages in Latin, and such a detailed and exhaustive catalogue of the pardons to be had at Syon Abbey that it is unlikely to have been preached ad populum in its entirety.
The volume is in one mid-fifteenth century hand, and appears to be a well-planned, unified production with the Pardon Sermon as its core text. There are no marks of ownership or clues to its provenance, but the overall impression from the contents is that it was made for one or more brothers at Syon who were in contact with pilgrims there and needed to have detailed knowledge of its indulgences, but who were also concerned with the practical and doctrinal aspects of pilgrimages to Rome.
The text provides a wealth of information on indulgences in late fifteenth-century England and gives insights into practice and doctrine which have relevance beyond Syon. It therefore deserves more attention than it has so far had, and an edition.
See also Kari Anne Rand, “The Syon Pardon Sermon: Contexts and Texts” in Preaching the Word in Manuscript and Print in Late Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Susan Powell, ed. Martha W. Driver and Veronica O’Mara (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), pp. 317-49.