The Mirror of Simple Souls
298 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268014353 | May 1999
Hardcover | 9780268014315 | September 2022
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268161507 | May 1999
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268161514 | May 1999
When Dr. Romana Guarnieri, in a letter to Osservatore Romano (16 June 1946), announced her discovery that Margaret Porette (d. 1 June 1310) was the author of The Mirror of Simple Souls, certainly a major French document of pre-Reformation spirituality, a sensation was created in the academic world. Although The Mirror is one of the few heretical documents to have survived the Middle Ages in its entirety, both its title and its authorship were among the most persistent and troublesome problems of scholarly research in the field of medieval vernacular languages. The Mirror, in its original French, survives only in the fifteenth-century manuscript which the great Condé (Louis II de Bourbon) had acquired for his palace at Chantilly. And, so far as can be known, all that remains with which to compare the readings of this manuscript text are those translations of The Mirror which, also in manuscript, are to be found in Latin, Italian, and Middle English.
This edition of The Mirror of Simple Souls is a translation from the French original with interpretive essays by Edmund Colledge, O.S.A., Judith Grant, and J.C. Marler, and a foreword by Kent Emery, Jr. The translators of this Modern English version rely primarily on the French, yet take other medieval translations into account. As a result, this edition offers a reading of The Mirror which solves a number of difficulties found in the French, and the introductions contributed by the translators narrate the archival history of the book, for which Margaret Porette was burned alive in Paris in 1310.
Margaret Porette (circa 1248/1250–1310) was a French-speaking mystic and the author of The Mirror of Simple Souls, a work of spirituality dealing with Divine Love. She was burned at the stake for heresy in Paris in 1310 after refusing to recant her views.
Edmund Colledge, O.S.A. (1910–1999), was a priest of the Augustinian Friars in England and professor emeritus, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto.
J. C. Marler is associate professor in the department of philosophy and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and assistant Vatican film librarian at Saint Louis University.
Judith Grant is a senior research fellow at the University of Auckland and the author of La Passiun de seint Edmund.
Kent Emery, Jr. is Professor Emeritus in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
“This translation succeeds in making this significant text accessible to the modern reader.” —Medium Aevum
“This translation of The Mirror of Simple Souls . . . has much to recommend it: clarity, rigorousness, and constant care to stay close to the French text.” —The Medieval Review
“The translation is the most readable to date, and is made more valuable by its textual notes.” —Anglican Theological Review
“Marguerite's Mirror, the only book we have by a medieval woman condemned for heresy, remains as fascinating and controversial as ever. Anyone with more than a passing interest in Christian spirituality will want to survey its giddy heights, and for the scholar of mysticism this . . . translation provides an invaluable guide.” —Canonical Counsel
“[A] welcome new translation of the mysterious French mystic Margaret (Marguerite) Porette’s (Porete) Mirror of Simple Souls.” —Mediaevistik