Fruit of the Orchard: Reading Catherine of Siena in Late Medieval and Early Modern England
Fruit of the Orchard sheds light on how Catherine of Siena served as a visible and widespread representative of English piety becoming a part of the devotional landscape of the period. By analyzing a variety of texts, including monastic and lay, complete and excerpted, shared and private, author Jennifer N. Brown considers how the visionary prophet and author was used to demonstrate orthodoxy, subversion, and heresy.
Tracing the book tradition of Catherine of Siena, as well as investigating the circulation of manuscripts, Brown explores how the various perceptions of the Italian saint were reshaped and understood by an English readership. By examining the practice of devotional reading, she reveals how this sacred exercise changed through a period of increased literacy, the rise of the printing press, and religious turmoil.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 328 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
"Brown has written a very well researched work. On the basis of twenty-one manuscript and printed excepts or complete copies of works by and about Catherine, she has constructed a plausible picture of how Catherine became known in England between 1400 and 1700, who read her and why."
Journal of British Studies
"One of the several impressive aspects of this book lies in the extremely careful attention given to detail in manuscripts and printed sources relevant to the transmission of Catherinian texts in England. Jennifer N. Brown has thoroughly teased out the finest textual details and placed them within a carefully considered framework of considerations relative to the nature and effects of gendered readership, female history, religious culture, and the roles of authority and reform in the late medieval and early modern periods."
George Ferzoco, Department of Religion and Theology, University of Bristol
"Learned and careful, Fruit of the Orchard takes us through a jungle of reworkings and offers many valuable insights. The readings of specific manuscripts and printed editions are detailed and convincing. Jennifer N. Brown’s work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of late medieval devotional culture and its relation to book history."
Andrew Taylor, Department of English, University of Ottawa
Author InformationJennifer N. Brown is an associate professor and chair of English and World Literatures at Marymount Manhattan College.
Table of contents
Introduction: Finding Catherine of Siena in Late Medieval and Early Modern England
1. Compiling Catherine: The Visionary Woman, Stephen Maconi, and the Carthusian Audience
2. William Flete, English Spirituality, and Catherine of Siena
3. Catherine Excerpted: Reading the Miscellany
4. The Orcherd of Syon: How to Read in the Convent
5. Catherine in Print: Lay Audiences and Reading Hagiography
Conclusion - Reforming Reading: Catherine of Siena in an Age of Reform
Appendix A: Literary Ancestry Chart
Appendix B: Catherine Texts in England
Subjects and Courses