The Doctrine of the Hert

BookThe Doctrine of the Hert

The Doctrine of the Hert

A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary

Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies

2010

May 17th, 2010

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This volume makes readily available for the first time a critical edition of The Doctrine of the Hert, the fifteenth-century English translation of De doctrina cordis, a thirteenth-century Latin devotional treatise addressed to nuns. A religious bestseller, the Doctrina circulated throughout Europe between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries and was translated into six different languages. The Doctrina progressively pairs the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit with seven key actions of the heart, leading readers toward contemplative unity with God. Despite its medieval popularity, the Doctrina has largely escaped the attention of scholars until recently. Exeter’s edition offers a full textual commentary, while its introduction not only examines current thinking upon the Doctrina’s authorship and envisaged primary audience, but also takes advantage of recent scholarly breakthroughs in the understanding of late medieval female spirituality.

Christiania Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Warwick. Her fields of interest lie in medieval allegory and female spirituality. Denis Renevey is Chair of Medieval English Literature and Language at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He has published widely in the field of vernacular theology and female religious writings. Anne Mouron is a fellow in English at Greyfriars, University of Oxford. She writes on late medieval devotional literature.

This volume makes readily available for the first time a critical edition of The Doctrine of the Hert, the fifteenth-century English translation of De doctrina cordis, a thirteenth-century Latin devotional treatise addressed to nuns.A religious bestseller, the Doctrina circulated throughout Europe between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries and was translated into six different languages. The Doctrina progressively pairs the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit with seven key actions of the heart, leading readers toward contemplative unity with God.Despite its medieval popularity, the Doctrina has largely escaped the attention of scholars until recently. Exeter’s edition offers a full textual commentary, while its introduction not only examines current thinking upon the Doctrina’s authorship and envisaged primary audience, but also takes advantage of recent scholarly breakthroughs in the understanding of late medieval female spirituality.

The edition is intended to be used alongside A Companion to the Doctrine of the Hert: The Middle English Translation and its Latin and European Contexts, edited by Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead (Exeter, 2010). These volumes represent a very significant and welcome contribution to medieval scholarship and will undoubtedly influence much future work on vernacular religious writings.

Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIX

These two complementary volumes together fill a major gap in the ever-burgeoning fields of late medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality. Students of medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality will want to own the Companion as well as the edition of The Doctrine of the Hert.

Medieval Feminist Forum, 48.1

An important addition to the corpus of medieval spiritual literature in the vernacular...it should enjoy a wide readership among all those interested in medieval mysticism and spirituality.

Analecta Cartusiana, No. 293

A significant resource for students and scholars of medieval mysticism.

The Year’s Work in English Studies, Vol 91

The edition is intended to be used alongside A Companion to the Doctrine of the Hert: The Middle English Translation and its Latin and European Contexts, edited by Denis Renevey and Christiania Whitehead (Exeter, 2010). These volumes represent a very significant and welcome contribution to medieval scholarship and will undoubtedly influence much future work on vernacular religious writings.' (The Doctrine of the Hert: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary, Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIX, 2010)

Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXIX

An important addition to the corpus of medieval spiritual literature in the vernacular... it should enjoy a wide readership among all those interested in medieval mysticism and spirituality.

Analecta Cartusiana, No. 293

These two complementary volumes together fill a major gap in the ever-burgeoning fields of late medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality. Students of medieval devotional literature and of medieval women’s spirituality will want to own the Companion as well as the edition of The Doctrine of the Hert.
Robert Sturges, Medieval Feminist Forum, 48.1

Medieval Feminist Forum, 48.1,

A significant resource for students and scholars of medieval mysticism.

The Year’s Work in English Studies, Vol 91

Author Information

Christiania Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval English Literature at the University of Warwick. Her fields of interest lie in medieval allegory and female spirituality. Denis Renevey is Chair of Medieval English Literature and Language at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He has published widely in the field of vernacular theology and female religious writings. Anne Mouron is a fellow in English at Greyfriars, University of Oxford. She writes on late medieval devotional literature.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Contents6
Foreword8
Introduction10
1. De doctrina cordis12
2. The structure and content of De doctrina cordis14
3. Authorship16
4. Vernacular versions18
5. The Doctrine of the Hert and fifteenth-century English religiosity21
6. Themes and images24
7. The Doctrine of the Hert as a translation27
8. Middle English manuscript descriptions48
9. Choice of base manuscript57
10. Language and dialect61
Bibliography64
Editorial Procedures75
The Doctrine of the Hert78
Prologue80
Capitulum primum82
Capitulum secundum124
Capitulum tercium136
Capitulum quartum145
Capitulum quintum154
Capitulum sextum157
Capitulum septimum162
Textual Commentary170
Abbreviated references170
Additional prefatory notes172
Prologue173
Capitulum primum175
Capitulum secundum215
Capitulum tercium228
Capitulum quartum237
Capitulum quintum243
Capitulum sextum245
Capitulum septimum251
Textual Variants259
Index to Latin and English Scriptural Quotations280
Appendices284
A. Transcription of the ‘HV’ Prologue from De doctrina cordis284
B. Table of chapter contents from the 1607 edition of De doctrina cordis286
Glossary of Middle English Terms290