Cambridge Magdalene College Pepys 2498 (Ancrene wisse
) was owned by Stephen Batman, as was Cambridge Trinity College B 14 19 (Chastising, and various meditations on the passion), which also has the name "Elizabeth" written twice in a lovely script on folio 163 (the endleaf of the first book in this composite manuscript).
The book's three central examples embrace a promising range of texts with a chapter each devoted to the hagiography known to and written about Christina of Markyate (marriage as the focus of tensions between worldly and unworldly ideals); the Guide for Anchoresses (Ancrene Wisse
) and its associated saints' lives and treatises in their 'AB' manuscripts (marriage as a paradigm of emotional commitment uniting two individuals used to inform the psychological processes of making and sustaining religious commitment); the debates (Chardri and The Owl and the Nightingale) and lyrics of Oxford, Jesus College MS 29 and London, British Library MS Cotton Caligula A.9 (literary play that is nevertheless compassionate towards the vulnerabilities and tensions of individuals in marriage).
In Part 4 of Ancrene Wisse
, the author departs at one point from the main line of his argument to give some additional advice on meditation on the Four Last Things:
This conclusion does not seem unreasonable, given that Lazamon must have been roughly contemporary with the scribe of Ancrene wisse
, who also kept the categories apart.
', the Katherine Group, and the Wooing Group.
For many readers - again like this reviewer - who have picked up these doctrines piecemeal from reading Langland, Ancrene Wisse
, and sundry religious writings, this book's value will reside in disentangling these various notions and making them available for inspection in the clear light of day.
But the Ancrene wisse
insists that the anchoresses stitch only the simpler kinds of borders in their production of church vestments, and that they should not be making silk caps, or lace, or purses to win friends (Millett and Wogan-Brown 1990: 138).
Gopa Roy argues from a comparison of Goscelin's Liber confortatorius, Aelred's De Institutione inclusarum, and Ancrene Wisse
for a post-Conquest decline in the educational opportunities open to anchoresses, a conclusion which is probably justified, although its anecdotal basis needs reinforcement (Eve of Wilton, an oblate nun whose mentor was one of the foremost scholars of his time, is not really comparable with the lay-anchoresses for whom Ancrene Wisse
was written; the key question is rather why they were lay-anchoresses in the first place).
The effect of the whole ensemble is very different from either the earlier regularity of Late West-Saxon or the AB language, and distinct from the later relative regularity of the "new, dialectally-confident handling of the vernacular" Smith (1991: 65) finds in the Nero A.xiv manuscript of Ancrene Wisse
. (16) A remarkably similar combination of tendencies is found elsewhere in Caligula in a different hand: its copy of Lazamon's Brut shows archaistic inclinations, (17) but the overall orthography is "very variable as though the system had not yet settled into a coherent form" (Laing 1993: 70).
The Old English Apollonius of Tyre mentions a fisherman laying choice foods (estas) in front of someone who ordered them.(3) AElfric, writing about 995, speaks of coming to the delicacies (estum) of the heavenly banquet.(4) Est 'food delicacy' survived into Middle English, so that the thirteenth-century author of Ancrene Wisse
could call Gluttony a sow with five piglets: Too Early, Too Daintily (To Esteliche), Too Greedily, Too Much, and Too Often.(5)
Bella Millett borrows the term mouvance from Paul Zumthor to characterize the textual fluidity of works such as Ancrene Wisse
whose different redactions for new audiences all possess interest and integrity yet cannot be represented in a conventional printed edition.
In Ancrene Wisse
,(8) a text which is roughly contemporary with The Owl and the Nightingale, the word appears eight times: once (65) it is associated with `comforts' (v.