An edition with commentary of the Speculum huius vite, a fifteenth-century pastoral manual in English
The Speculum huius vite is a pastoral manual composed in English around the end of the fourteenth century. It is, on one level, an abbreviated version of the Prick of Conscience, arguably one of the most popular English texts of the late middle ages; but the Speculum is more than simply an abbreviation of a popular text, since it refashions its source to accommodate a new emphasis and new material, including a commentary on the ten commandments and some shorter exhortations to the clergy and laity regarding humility and modesty. Evidence from the two manuscripts of the Speculum (Bodleian MS Additional A. 268, fols. 117r-139r, and Dublin Trinity Coll. MS 155, pp. 149-238) and from two related manuscripts of the Prick of Conscience (Cambridge University Library MS Dd.12.69, fols. 37r-97v and Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Library MS 155, fols. 1-77) indicates that two revisions were involved in the production of the Speculum from the Prick of Conscience. The dialect of the poem has been extensively studied to determine whether it is possible to make any conjectures concerning the geographical source of the first and second revisions of the text. The text was probably used for catechetical instruction, private reading, and preaching within the tradition of English catechetical manuals produced after the Fourth Lateran Council. The thesis provides a description of the manuscripts of the text (Chapter One), discussions of the historical context of the poem (Chapter Two), the sources and immediate context of the poem (Chapter Three), the relationship of the manuscripts (Chapter Four), and the language and dialect of the text (Chapter Five). These are followed by notes on editorial procedure, an edition of the text, a glossary, notes to the text, and a bibliography.