Title Background

The Ages of Man: A Study in Medieval Writing and Thought.

The Ages of Man: A Study in Medieval Writing and Thought.

(pp. 69-70, 143-46): B.12.3-11 (Imaginatif’s address to the Dreamer) is influenced by the Gregorian interpretation (XL Homiliarum in Evang., Bk. 1, Hom. 13) of the three vigiliae of Luke 12:36-38 as pueritia, adolescentia vel juventus, and senectus, which finds in the approach of old age an urgent reason to amend one’s life before death and judgment. B. 19.26-199 shows a traditional concern with seeing the iter humanitatis in the life of Jesus, styled filius Mariae as late as the marriage feast at Cana; later “in his moder absence” he reaches full maturity as fillus David. B. 16.90 ff. casts the natural cursus aetatts as an unfamiliar discipline in which Jesus as a man was instructed by Piers, in a model of how the human soul is to proceed in an orderly and productive way. The proverb, “Soon ripe, soon rotten” (first attested in C. 12.222) is a popular notice of traditional distrust of early maturity and unnatural precocity.

Rev. Thomas D. Hill, SAC 9 (1987): 198-99; Alison Lee, English 36 (1987): 267-71; Christina von Nolcken, RES 38 (1987): 534-35; Daniel G. Calder, MLQ 48 (1987): 386-88; John B. Friedman, YLS 3 (1989): 137-52; Antonia Grandsen, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 40 (1989): 105-07; Derek Pearsall, MLR 84 (1989): 111-12; Hildegard Tristram, Anglia 107 (1989): 183-88.


Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986.


Burrow, J. A.