The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Fasciculus Morum

Fasciculus Morum

A Fourteenth-Century Preacher’s Handbook Edited and Translated by Siegfried Wenzel
  • Copyright: 1989
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 764 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-00642-0

Fasciculus Morum is a handbook for preachers, written in Latin in the very early fourteenth century by an English Franciscan friar. It has never been printed but is extant in twenty-eight manuscripts. The work gathers a large amount of material for preaching, including more than fifty short poems in English, and presents this material neatly arranged in the order of the seven deadly sins and their opposite remedial virtues. The book has attracted considerable interest among students of Middle English literature because of its verses, but beyond this it has proven to be of equally great interest because it furnishes a fine example of what popular preachers in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries would present to their congregations—the religious and moral doctrine as well as the biblical material, authoritative quotations, similes, fables, stories, moral exegesis, and other devices with which they enriched their sermons. It is, in other words, a summa of what an English Everyman would have heard from the pulpit, and as such it represents an important sourcebook for students of medieval social and intellectual history, literature, preaching, religion, iconography, and the arts.

This book offers a critical edition of Fasciculus Morum together with facing modern English translation. The edition is based on a detailed study and comparison of the surviving manuscripts, whose relations are traced in the Introduction. The text is accompanied by notes listing important variant readings. In addition, the numerous quotations in the work are identified wherever possible, and in the case of stories and exempla told in Fasciculus Morum, references to less well-known occurrences are also included.

Siegfried Wenzel's other books include Preachers, Poets and the Early English Lyric. He is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

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