Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ is an important work of late medieval English vernacular theology, and is made available here in a modern paperback "Reading Text" edition, complete with a short Introduction, explanatory notes and glossary, followed by a longer hardback: the "Full Critical Edition". The critical edition is not merely a revision of Michael Sargent's 1992 Garland best-text edition, now out of print, but a new and completely critical edition that uses the Garland volume only as its starting-point. Although based on the same manuscript, and containing much of the same introductory material, this edition includes the results of a complete collation of the 71 known surviving manuscripts and early prints. This collation demonstrates that the text exists in two separate authorial versions, of which the first, which incorporated a separate, independent translation of the Passion section, may not in the first instance have included the "Treatise on the Sacrament". The second version, on which the edition is based, is an authorial revision, undertaken, perhaps, after Love had met with Archbishop Arundel for approval of his text. The Introduction discusses the evidence for the process of composition of the text, and places Love's Mirror, properly, at the centre of current scholarly discussion of the development of vernacular theology in late medieval England and the consequences of Arundel's anti-Lollard Lambeth Constitutions.
Michael Sargent is Professor in the Department of English, Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has published a number of books, including De Cella in Seculum: Religious and Secular Life and Devotion in Late Medieval England (Boydell & Brewer, 1989) and Nicholas Love at Waseda (Boydell & Brewer, 1997).
Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ is a particularly important work of late medieval English vernacular theology: it is seen as a landmark in the history of the official campaign to control lay access to vernacular paramystical texts. It is made available here for the first time in a critical modern paperback edition, complete with a short introduction, explanatory notes and a glossary. The volume is not merely a revision of Michael Sargent’s 1992 Garland best-text edition, now out of print, but a new full critical edition that uses the Garland volume only as its starting-point. Although based on the same manuscript, this new edition includes the results of a complete collation of the 71 known surviving manuscripts and early prints.Nicholas Love’s Mirror was a Middle English translation of the pseudo-Bonaventuran Meditationes Vitae Christi. The Latin text, probably written at the end of the thirteenth century or the beginning of the fourteenth, was a popular book of devotions on the events of the life and passion of Christ characteristic of late-medieval Franciscan spirituality. The Introduction places Love's Mirror, properly, at the centre of current scholarly discussion of the development of vernacular theology in late medieval England.
The fruit of a life’s labours, it authoritatively and comprehensively sets out the Mirror’s text, and its political and ecclesiastical contexts, for at least a generation or two to come.
Ecclesiastical History, volume 57/3.
One rarely sees any longer a definitive edition of this sort, and Exeter University Press is to be commended for bringing out such a complex book. Sargent’s edition will help consolidate and guide the study of English ‘vernacular theology’ for some decades to come.
Ecclesiastical History, volume 57/3.
This work has received at the hand of Michael G. Sargent a sophisticated and excellent treatment. The quality of the text […] serves to make this the text to use for all future work on Love. The book is thus both the standard critical edition for scholars as well as an accessible text for undergraduates. What is clear, however, is that the writings of Nicholas Love have received within this critical edition their fullest and most comprehensive presentation.
Journal of English and Germanic Philology
This is an impressive edition that will be indispensable for future scholars of Love’s Mirror, as well as for scholars interested in compositional techniques and issues of authorship in derivative texts, and in late medieval literature of spiritual instruction and its interaction with controversial and heterodox practice and doctrine in England and on the Continent.
Marleen Cré, Boekbesprekingen, Ons Geestelijk Erf 79(1), 101-104
It is a most readable text, and Professor Sargent has given us back something of real worth.
M.G S. is to be warmly commended on this fine edition of a major treatise in the vernacular and his book is a welcome addition to the devotional literature of the early 15th century.
Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique
The publishers have been generous in their provision of space, and the book is well sized, produced on good-quality paper, with eleven plates (seven colour) which allow a snapshot of the manuscripts.’‘…this will be the definitive edition of Love’s text; Sargent’s editorial labours have endowed it with a scholarly authority for the twenty-first century matching the ecclesiastical authority it enjoyed in the fifteenth.
(Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXVI
Michael G. Sargent has produced two editions of Nicholas Love’s The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ:..
The Year’s Work in English Studies, Vol. 86, No. 1
Sargent’s introduction (sixteen pages) is very valuable, because it elucidates the complex circumstances of Love’s creation.’‘We believe that all university libraries should obtain a copy of this work.
Fifteenth-Century Studies 34