Introducing modern readers to the riches of preaching in later medieval England, distinguished scholar Siegfried Wenzel offers translations of twenty-five Latin sermons written between 1350 and 1450. These carefully selected and previously untranslated sermons demonstrate how preachers constructed them and shaped them to their own purposes. The sermons provide representative examples of preaching through the Church year from Advent to the Sundays after Easter; also included are sermons for saints and pieces preached on such special occasions as funerals, convocations, visitations, professions, and academic lectures.
Taken together, the sermons provide a view of the wide variety of styles and rhetorical appeals that were used by well-known medieval preachers, such as FitzRalph, Brinton, Wyclif, Repingdon, Felton, Mirk, Philip, and Dygon; a number of anonymous sermons are included as well. All but one (Mirk) have been preserved in Latin and are translated here for the first time into modern English.
The book also contains a general introduction and short historical notes on the individual selections. Besides attracting the attention of students of preaching and of Western Church history, the material will be of great interest to medieval historians and to students of Middle-English literature, especially of Chaucer, the Pearl-Poet, Langland, fifteenth-century drama, and the lyric.
Siegfried Wenzel, a longtime professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is author or editor of ten books and numerous articles. He received the Medieval Academy of America's prestigious Charles Homer Haskins Medal for his contributions to medieval literature and religion.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
"These sermons are difficult to acquire, often hard to translate, and very hard to teach. Wenzel's collection will go a long way toward enhancing the classroom experience of many teachers and students. Wenzel is a superb translator. The texts are a pleasure to read, written in a light, accessible style that flows beautifully."―Maura Nolan, University of California, Berkeley
This book is immensely illuminating! Wenzel's mastery of the field is reflected in the bountiful and fruitful ways the selected sermons interrelate, and his translations are beautifully done."―Theresa Gross-Diaz, Loyola University Chicago
"As the author of numerous excellent books and articles on sermons and other texts related to medieval preaching, Siegfried Wenzel has made an enormous contribution to this development. This latest offering confirms his standing not only as an eminent scholar in this field, but also as one of its most effective promoters and teachers, for the primary purpose of this book is to introduce the rich variety of medieval sermon literature to students who lack the linguistic and paleographical skills to access the original sources themselves. The book succeeds brilliantly in this objective, and it will no doubt inspire some budding young scholars to go on to obtain those skills so that they can further explore the vast, still largely unknown corpus of preaching materials that survive from the Middle Ages, while others will come to appreciate these texts for the rich sources that they are for myriad aspects of medieval thought. This book also offers much of interest to general readers, to sermon scholars working in other periods, and to medievalists in such related fields as English literature, social history, theology, pastoral studies, and rhetoric. Finally, Wenzel's colleagues in the field of medieval sermon studies will surely appreciate his approach in presenting their subject to a novice audience, not only in terms of the book's textual content but also in his infectious enthusiasm for the subject, which is especially evident in the general introduction and also appears in his prefaces to t