This dissertation provides a new edition of the Mirror to Devout People, which survives in two manuscripts: Notre Dame, Indiana, University of Notre Dame, MS 67 (ND) and Cambridge, University Library, MS Gg.1.6 ©. Two previous editions of this text were completed as unpublished dissertations. Bridget Ann WilsherÌøåÀås 1956 University of London dissertation uses C as a base text and ND to fill in a lacuna; major variations in ND are noted. John Patrick Banks 1959 Fordham dissertation uses ND as the base text; major variations in ND are noted. In 1973, a partial edition edited by James Hogg was published as part of the Analecta Cartusiana series; it lacks the last one-third of the text. The present edition provides a full record of all variant readings in both manuscripts. Based on ND, it uses C to correct errors in sense and syntax, and also uses the sources to identify original readings. A glossary, which contains words that are not easily recognizable to readers of modern English, is included, as well as a complete glossary of all proper names. The full explanatory and textual notes identify for the first time almost all Latin and Middle English sources for the Mirror. The introduction to the edition provides descriptions of both manuscripts and an overview of the ownership and circulation of the Mirror.
The author of the Mirror was a Carthusian, probably of the London abbey of Sheen and the female religious for whom the work was composed was probably a Bridgittine nun at the neighboring house of Syon Abbey. ND seems to have been commissioned for a secular family, John Scrope, Fourth Baron of Masham and his wife Elizabeth. The original address to a Bridgittine nun of Syon Abbey is thus transformed into an address to a pious laywoman. Appropriate to its female audience, it draws on the works of ÌøåÀåapproued women,ÌøåÀå_ such as Bridget of Sweden, Catherine of Siena, and Mechtild of Hackeborn. As a result, the Mirror to Devout People provides important insights into the production of religious writing in fifteenth-century England and its transmission into secular ownership.