’Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynk’: The Cultural Locations of Meditations on the Supper of Our Lord and the Middle English Pseudo-Bonaventuran Tradition

Perry, Ryan M M (2011) ’Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynk’: The Cultural Locations of Meditations on the Supper of Our Lord and the Middle English Pseudo-Bonaventuran Tradition. Speculum, 86 (2). pp. 419-454. ISSN 0038-7134. E-ISSN 2040-8072. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0038713410004707) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0038713410004707

Abstract

“Awak, and thenk on Cristes passioun!” So exclaims John the carpenter in the Miller's Tale, simultaneously performing the sign of the cross in his frantic efforts to stir Nicholas from a feigned trance. Then, babbling folk charms and prayers, John continues his attempts to wrestle the young astronomer free from supernatural forces, the “elves” and “wightes” he supposes have afflicted his boarder. Here the text of the urbane late-fourteenth-century Chaucer apparently reflects upon a tradition often considered characteristic of fifteenth-century devotional literature and praxis, that is, “affective piety.” Tantalizingly, John's claims for the spiritually cathartic benefits of thinking “on Cristes passioun” parallel a construction used at the beginning of the Meditations on the Supper of Our Lord (hereafter MSOL) where the author states, “Whan þou þenkest þys [of Christ's Passion] yn þy þoʒt / Thyr may no fende noye þe with noʒt.” This kind of idea resonates throughout the pseudo-Bonaventuran tradition, a cluster of meditative literary treatments of the lives of Christ and Mary based on versions of the Latin Meditationes vitae Christi (hereafter MVC). The Privity of the Passion similarly promises “comforthe and gostely gladnes” to those who “with a besy thoghte … duell in it [the Passion].” The Middle English translation of the Meditationes de Passione Christi (hereafter MEMPC), a text that was probably composed during Chaucer's lifetime, is representative of the tradition in how it promotes thinking on Christ's Passion as a means of spiritual renewal:

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Stewart Brownrigg
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 00:05 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 15:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/40601 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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