Feeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wyclif by Fiona SomersetFeeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wyclif by Fiona Somerset

Feeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after Wyclif

byFiona Somerset

Hardcover | May 8, 2014

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"Lollard" is the name given to followers of John Wyclif, the English dissident theologian who was dismissed from Oxford University in 1381 for his arguments regarding the eucharist. A forceful and influential critic of the ecclesiastical status quo in the late fourteenth century, Wyclif's thought was condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415. While lollardy has attracted much attention in recent years, much of what we think we know about this English religious movement is based on records of heresy trials and anti-lollard chroniclers. In Feeling Like Saints, Fiona Somerset demonstrates that this approach has limitations. A better basis is the five hundred or so manuscript books from the period (1375–1530) containing materials translated, composed, or adapted by lollard writers themselves.These writings provide rich evidence for how lollard writers collaborated with one another and with their readers to produce a distinctive religious identity based around structures of feeling. Lollards wanted to feel like saints. From Wyclif they drew an extraordinarily rigorous ethic of mutual responsibility that disregarded both social status and personal risk. They recalled their commitment to this ethic by reading narratives of physical suffering and vindication, metaphorically martyring themselves by inviting scorn for their zeal, and enclosing themselves in the virtues rather than the religious cloister. Yet in many ways they were not that different from their contemporaries, especially those with similar impulses to exceptional holiness.

Fiona Somerset is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Clerical Discourse and Lay Audience in Late Medieval England and the coeditor of Lollards and Their Influence in Late Medieval England and The Vulgar Tongue: Medieval and Postmedieval Vernacularity.
Title:Feeling Like Saints: Lollard Writings after WyclifFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 1 inPublished:May 8, 2014Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801452813

ISBN - 13:9780801452819


Table of Contents

Part One
1. The Lollard Pastoral Program: Reform from Below
2. God's Law: Loving, Learning, and Teaching
3. Lollard Prayer: Religious Practice and Everyday Life
Part Two
4. Lollard Tales
5. Lollard Parabiblia
Part Three
6. Moral Fantasie: Normative Allegory in Lollard Writings
7. Lollard Forms of Living
Appendix A: Brief Descriptions of Frequently Cited Manuscripts
Appendix B: The Pastoral Syllabus of SS74 and a Detailed Summary of the Sermons

Editorial Reviews

"Fiona Somerset's book's importance in developing the medieval studies basis for its field, and that field's contribution to late-medieval religious and social history, is undoubted. The sheer wealth of sources which provide evidence of diverse lollard teachings on living a virtuous life, stories, saints, praying, and 'feeling,' revise previous assumptions about lollards and provide a more nuanced perspective than ever before. It is a significant piece of scholarship, looking at a wide range of manuscript sources and challenging the assumptions of the whole field of Lollard scholarship.... Whether or not Somerset is correct in her readings of sources she classifies as Lollard, her work will be one that future scholars have to 'answer’ if they are going to look at any of these writings."