Disruptive Simplicity: Gaytryge’s Translation of Archbishop Thoresby’s Injunctions

  • Moira Fitzgibbons
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Recent studies of vernacular religious writing have demonstrated that medieval English instructional texts often contain lively discussions of authorial methods and motives. Despite, or, perhaps, because of, their didactic goals, pastoral writers of the Middle Ages expound at length upon such issues as the benefits of writing in English, the needs of their intended audiences, and their works’ position relative to other literary genres.1 In addition to the historical context they provide, these self-reflexive passages offer considerable entertainment value to modern-day readers. Robert Manning’s chatty enumeration of his friends and travels in Handlyng Synne, and the rousing advocacy of English for Englishmen in Cursor Mundi (“Seiden was for any chaunce / Englis tong praysed in Fraunce!” [The English tongue was seldom praised in France for any reason]) provide salutary reminders of the rewards of delving into these ostensibly sober-minded texts.2


Religious Instruction Disruptive Simplicity Parish Priest Manuscript Collection Christian Principle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 7.
    G. R. Owst, Preaching in Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1926), p. 289Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    N. E Blake, Middle English Religious Prose (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1972), p. 9.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    William Pantin, The English Church in the Fourteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), p. 211.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    D. W Robertson, “Frequency of Preaching in Thirteenth-Century England,” Speculum 24 (1949): 387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 38.
    Ruth Evans, “Translating Past Cultures?” The Medieval Translator 4, ed. Roger Ellis and Ruth Evans (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), p. 36.Google Scholar
  6. 39.
    See The Middle English Dictionary, eds. Hans Kurath and Sherman M. Kuhn (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1952), 7:230.Google Scholar
  7. 60.
    John Mirk, Festial, ed. Theodor Erbe, EETS e.s. 96 (London: Early English Text Society, 1905), p. 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Duncan Robertson, and Nancy Bradley Warren 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moira Fitzgibbons

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations