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Women's Books of Hours in Medieval England

Women's Books of Hours in Medieval England

Charity Scott-Stokes
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt14brvb1
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  • Book Info
    Women's Books of Hours in Medieval England
    Book Description:

    The book of hours is said to have been the most popular book owned by the laity in the later middle ages. Women were often patrons or owners of such books, which were usually illustrated: indeed, the earliest surviving exemplar made in England was designed and illustrated by William de Brailes in Oxford in the mid-thirteenth century, for an unknown young lady whom he portrayed in the book several times. This volume brings together a selection of texts taken from books of hours known to have been owned by women. While some will be familiar from bibles or prayer-books, others have to be sought in specialist publications, often embedded in other material, and a few have not until now been available at all in modern editions or translations. The texts are complemented by an introduction setting the book of hours in its context, an interpretive essay, glossary and annotated bibliography.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-513-0
    Subjects: Bibliography

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xi-xi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    A medieval book of hours was in essence a miscellany of prayers, made for an individual, a family or a community. It was designed for use at home, and also, in some instances, at church. It was intended primarily for private devotion, that is, as a book enabling its users to direct their minds in faithful service to the worship of God in private prayer during the course of their daily lives. There was also a strong focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was in the main a religious compilation, yet it could also include secular, or worldly, items....

  8. List of Texts
    (pp. 25-28)
  9. Manuscript Sources of Translated Texts
    (pp. 29-33)
  10. Editorial Conventions
    (pp. 34-36)
  11. The Texts
    (pp. 37-148)

    The Little Office or Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary can be found with minor variations in most books of hours. Sections from the Hours of the Cross, or the entire Office, are often interwoven with the Little Office, especially in English books of hours. Most of the psalms at vespers and compline of the Little Office are taken from the Gradual Psalms, strongly associated with Mary by the popular tradition that she recited them as she ascended the steps of the temple on the occasion of her Presentation. The exceptions are psalm 12 and psalm 25 at compline. In...

  12. Interpretive Essay Women and their Books of Hours
    (pp. 149-161)

    This essay starts with observations on women’s lives in England in the late Middle Ages. It goes on to consider their ownership of books of hours, their use of the books, and their possible participation in the writing of a few of the texts. Finally it returns to St Anne and the Virgin Mary.

    Women’s lives during the late Middle Ages were lived amidst violence and the constant threat of sudden death: from warfare, feuds, tyranny and persecution, or sickness. The hazards of childbed, infant mortality and the plague were never far away. There were wars between England and Scotland...

  13. Glossary of liturgical and technical terms, and proper names of importance to church history
    (pp. 162-173)
  14. Annotated Bibliography
    (pp. 174-183)
  15. Index
    (pp. 184-187)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 188-189)