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The Prick of Conscience and the Imagination of Paradise

The Prick of Conscience and the Imagination of Paradise

In this essay for Ralph Hanna’s festschrift, Minnis examines the role of imagination in the Prick of Conscience, citing the text from Hanna and Sarah Wood’s amplified and corrected version of Richard Morris’s edition, published by the Early English Text Society in 2013. Drawing on recent work on the medieval theory of imagination, including Hanna’s own analysis of Ymaginatif in PPl, Minnis analyses the form imagination takes drawing examples from texts that range from Prick of Conscience and PPl to Milton via Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Gregory the Great. Minnis questions the relationship between imagination and Eden, paradise, and the patria and compares its pre- and post-lapsarian functions. His close analysis of the last part of The Prick of Conscience examines the relationship between memory and death and ability to imagine heaven through negative comparison.


Pursuing Middle English Manuscripts and their Texts: Essays in Honour of Ralph Hanna, ed. by Simon Horobin and Aditi Nafde (Turnhout: Brepols, 2017), pp. 157–75.


Minnis, Alastair