Renevey D., Whitehead C. and Mouron A. (eds.), The Doctrine of the Hert: A Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2010).
This volume makes readily available for the first time a critical edition of The Doctrine of the Hert, the fifteenth-century English translation of De doctrina cordis, a thirteenth-century Latin devotional treatise addressed to nuns.
A religious bestseller, the Doctrina circulated throughout Europe between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries and was translated into six different languages. The Doctrina progressively pairs the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit with seven key actions of the heart, leading readers toward contemplative unity with God.
Despite its medieval popularity, the Doctrina has largely escaped the attention of scholars until recently. Exeter’s edition offers a full textual commentary, while its introduction not only examines current thinking upon the Doctrina’s authorship and envisaged primary audience, but also takes advantage of recent scholarly breakthroughs in the understanding of late medieval female spirituality.
Renevey D., Language, Self and Love: Hermeneutics in the Writings of Richard Rolle and the Commentaries on the Song of Songs (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001).
Language, Self and Love offers a unique insight into the development of the language of interiority in the medieval literature inspired by the Song of Songs and its commentaries. It traces the evolution of a medieval identity in the process of self-fashioning and, in showing the importance of mystical writing for understanding medieval subjectivity, suggests that the ‘self’ is not the early modern invention it is often claimed to be.
Denis Renevey discusses the correspondences between the discourse of love in the Song of Songs and the language of mysticism in the writings of William of St Thierry and Richard Rolle, where the self is described in its attempts at establishing a direct relationship with God. He also shows how the textual strategies offered in mystical writing for the use of female recipients engage with questions of misogyny and the relationship between Latin and vernacular cultures.
Language, Self and Love will be an essential text for all those concerned with questions of subjectivity, mysticism and spirituality in the late medieval period. It offers new perspectives on both mystical commentaries and the language of interiority as it is interpreted after Augustine.