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Christian Works : The Abbey of the Holy Ghost, etc.

Christian Works

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Cambridge University Library MS Ll.5.18 is a small fifteenth-century miscellany, consisting of a selection of devotional vernacular texts: the final portion of the treatise <i>The Direccion of a Mannys Lyfe</i>, <i>The Life</i> and <i>The Charter of the Abbey of the Holy Ghost</i>, the <i>Life of Saint Dorothy</i>, a translated excerpt from Saint Augustine’s <i>De contemptu mundi</i> and John Lydgate’s <i>Life of Saint Margaret</i>. As such, it can offer us a valuable insight into personal spiritual practices in the late medieval period. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Currently, the provenance of the manuscript remains a matter of supposition. That said, it can be firmly situated among a well-documented manuscript tradition from the period in which miscellanies present female saints’ <i>vitae</i> and/or Marian material along with the <i>Abbey</i> and <i>Charter</i>. British Library MS Harley 5272, for example, bears close textual parallels to MS Ll.5.18, containing both the <i>Abbey</i> and <i>Charter</i> in addition to a verse life of Saint Dorothy and Lydgate’s <i>Life of Our Lady</i>. Drawing upon this, a number of scholars have proposed that these compilations were prepared with a female reader in mind; if this proves true for MS Ll.5.18, it becomes an all the more focused lens into fifteenth-century religious habitudes.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Katherine Dixon<br /> English Faculty<br /> University of Cambridge</p>

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