Medieval Lunar Astrology a Collection of Representative Middle English Texts
|Author: ||Means, Laurel|
Presents a critical edition of eighteen Middle English astrological texts in verse and prose, based upon lunar astrology and its prognostics for all areas of life -- personality, physical appearance, profession, health, medicine, sexuality, marriage, agriculture, commerce, and travel. None of these works has received a full, critical edition; few have been studied, several important and extensive texts in multiple redactions have never before been noted, including The Moon of Ptolemy and The Sothfast Conyng of Astrology. An extensive introduction explains the common astrological conditions upon which they are based. Because the texts constitute a large number of individual manuscripts, they can be studied as an important body of popular literature which circulated widely, whether as deluxe illuminated documents or the poorest of household documents. The texts raise several topics which need to be better understood within the context of late medieval thought, notably determinism, physiognomy, and medicine.
"Laurel Means has prefixed what is first and foremost an edition of representative lunar-prognostic texts, with brief glossary and commentaries, with an introduction in which she attempts to bring some order into the confusion. . . . many a student of Middle English will be grateful for the texts which have now been put into the public domain." - Isis
". . . makes accessible to historians of science and students of medieval culture a collection of utilitarian texts that have remained, until now, distant and difficult materials for most scholars. . . . Means' book will be useful to students of medieval medicine, Chaucer scholars, historians of the astronomical sciences, students of popular Christianity, and those interested in the history of English prose and medieval technical writing, not to mention scholars exploring the sociolinguistic borders between clerkly Latin, vernacular prose, and mnemonic verse." -- Lea Olsan