by Bella Millett ; drawing on the uncompleted edition by E.J. Dobson ; with a glossary and additional notes by Richard Dance
The second volume of this edition of Ancrene Wisse includes a general introduction, on institutional and historical context, sources and influences, structure and style. The extensive explanatory notes include material on the text's historical, theological, and literary background. The introduction summarizes recent research on this important text and others associated with it in the Middle Ages; it offers a discussion of the text's origin which relates it to broader contemporary developments in preaching and pastoral care. The Glossary, supplied by Richard Dance, is supplemented by discussion of specific textual and philological problems and offers a definitive guide to the language.
The thirteenth-century "Ancrene Wisse" is one of the major works of early Middle English prose, and was repeatedly revised and adapted for different audiences. It has attracted much attention from students of church history and women's studies as a highly influential, important example of pastoral guidance for women religions. This is the first edition to bring together the full manuscript evidence, and to set it in its broader cultural and institutional context. Volume II will be published in 2006.