It must be Love

Remember how my professor said barely anything has been written on my topic? And that literature is my boyfriend? It must be love, Nicholas Love.

Nicholas Love was a Carthusian monk in the turn of the century—the 15th century, that is. He translated into English (that would be Middle English, to us) Pseudo-Bonaventura’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ. Despite being popular for a good couple centuries, there is virtually nothing written on this guy. He’s got his primary text, one book of articles, and a handful of pages in books mostly about Margery Kempe and Lollards. He’s being read, because you’ll see references to him in other books and articles, but all such references are in passing and refer to either the Proem or the Treatise on the Sacrament at the end. So there’s virtually no work on this really interesting text, and for the life of me I don’t know why. As opposed to my previous experience with Chaucer, I very well could read everything I can find on Nicholas Love in two days, including time to eat, sleep, socialize, etc.

So, if this essay goes well, and Ian likes it, I might pitch Nick Love at him for my thesis topic. And, not to get ahead of myself, perhaps even my PhD. I can have lots of fun playing with Mariology and extra-Biblical tradition.

One of my favorite bits is a prayer by Mary Magdalene when she anoints Jesus’ feet at Simon’s house (we’re going to humor Nicholas since it wasn’t actually the Magdalene that did this):

My swete lorde I wote wele & treuly knowlech þat ȝe ben my god & my lorde, & þat I haue offendet ȝour hye maieste in many gret offenses & trespasses, in so miche þat I knowlech soþely þat my synnes bene without noumbre as þe grauele of þe see. Bot for als miche as I byleue þat ȝour mercy passeþ al þinge þerfore I wrecchede & sinful come to ȝowe and fle to ȝour grete mercy forþenkyng inwardly of þat I haue offendet, & askyng mercy & forȝiuenes.

My sweet Lord, I know well and truly acknowledge that you are my God and my lord, and that I have offended your high majesty in many great offenses and trespasses, in so much that I acknowledge truly that my sins be without number as the gravel of the sea. But because as much as I believe that your mercy passes all things, therefore I, wretched and sinful, come to you and flee to your great mercy regretting inwardly of that I have offended, and ask for mercy and forgiveness.

4 thoughts on “It must be Love

  1. Chera says:

    Oh Danielle, you’d love this book. Unfortunately a Modern English translation does not yet exist, but a bug has been put in my ear… That bit I translated off the top of my head, and as far as I know, that’s the only Modern English there is. The book is a biography of Jesus’ life, a devotion book written by a monk for laypeople, and there’s a chapter for each day of the week. “Friday”, of course, is the Passion.

    …if I translated it, would people actually read it? (There’s some anti-Lollard stuff in there, but the rest of it is pretty darn cool, I must say.)


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