Forms of Faith: Lollardy and Late Medieval Textual Culture
This cluster of essays explores the mutual imbrication of textual form(s) and spiritual formation in Middle English religious writing, within and beyond identifiably lollard contexts. The introduction characterizes textual form as inherently productive, shaping not only discourses but the feelings, thoughts, and lives of readers. Considering codicological as well as linguistic structures, ideological production as well as aesthetic theory, the accompanying essays explore both the mechanisms by which textual form is translated into spiritual formation, and also the forms of living and Christian community that late medieval writers sought to construct. With their focus on lollard writings, the essays examine forms that may not call attention to themselves as such, within works commonly treated as peripheral to Middle English literary study. Often seen as formally minimalist or even anti-formal, lollard writings have generally been mined for their views rather than studied for their textual or rhetorical shapes. Yet for lollards, as for other medieval writers, form and content, aesthetics and instrumentality, are fundamentally intertwined and ultimately inseparable. Analyses of biblical commentary, sermons, prayer, and spiritual guides reveal how lollards gave new shape to Christian discourse and practice, while illuminating literary dynamics central to late medieval textual culture as a whole.
This bibliography contains individual entries for all the essays in this cluster.