|dc.description.abstract||In this study I edit eight texts extant in manuscripts from the fifteenth and early-sixteenth century. Their similarity lies not only in their historical moment; they are all connected to the cult of the Virgin Mary, and they are all in Middle English prose. Finally, and most importantly, they were all in need of editing or re-editing; this thesis seeks primarily to address this last consideration by providing critical editions of these texts.
Much Marian material has already been edited, particularly if it is or was thought to bear the mark of a known author, is in verse, or is found in at least one well-known manuscript. There are many devotional texts which fall outside of these categories, however, and which have escaped critical notice. Because they have “flown under the radar”, these texts remain largely unavailable. I hope that by providing access to them, this edition will help to further understanding of the development of Mary’s cult and late medieval piety. Several of the texts exist in two or more versions; these texts are presented as facing-page, parallel editions, which are designed for ease of comparison. Textual variants are given at the foot of the page.
The Rule of the Life of Our Lady is edited below in its two versions; version A from London, British Library MS Harley 2339 and version B from Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 938. Two texts from London, Lambeth Palace MS 546, the Fifteen Steads and Fifteen Sorrows devotions, follow. The Doctor of the Church on the Compassion of the Virgin meditation is edited from Cambridge, University Library MS Ff.6.33. The Vision of St John on the Sorrows of the Virgin appears in three versions: the first is edited from Cambridge, University Library Additional MS 6686, the second from Cambridge, University Library MS Ii.6.43 and the third from New Haven, Beinecke MS 317. The Treatise on Ave Maris Stella and version B of the Treatise on Ecce Virgo Concipiet are edited from London, British Library MS Arundel 286, while version A of the Treatise on Ecce Virgo Concipiet is edited from London, Westminster School MS 3. The last text in the edition is the Commentary on the Ave Maria, edited from Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 296.||