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Richard Rolle, 'The Minding of Life' f.1r

Richard Rolle, 'The Minding of Life' f.1r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1450

Shelfmark: Additional MS 37790

Item number: f.1r

Length: 26.5

Width: 16.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

In the late middle ages, England produced several important Christian mystics, including Richard Rolle and Julian of Norwich. They were visionaries and authors for the broader tendencies of late medieval Christianity toward personal, direct and intense religious experience. An assemblage of some of the theological writings of Rolle and Julian, this manuscript presents the writings in English, some of them being translations--especially those Rolle--from Latin. It probably would have been studied as part of the spiritual practice of a monk or nun, or possibly an anchorite (a hermit).

This is the first page of Richard Misyn's English translation of Rolle's 'De emendatione vitae' or as the title translates in red, 'This book is of the mending of life or else the rule of living.' It is a kind of manual for attaining higher spiritual states. Rolle (1300-1349) was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, and left Oxford to become a hermit. Often compared with the great Franciscan saints and known as the 'Father of English mysticism', he was also a brilliant writer, producing theological works in Latin and English, as well as translating part of the Bible into English. In the upper margin of the page is the inscription of a later owner, "Vincit Winge".

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