Dr. Laurel Means, Professor Emerita of Medieval Language and Literature at McMaster University, is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Her many publications includ "Scientific and Utilitarian Prose," Middle English Prose: A Critical Survey (1984); "The Middle English Translation of Martin of Spain's De Geomancia," Popular Science in Medieval England (1993); "Old and Middle English Utilitarian Writings: Astrology, Astronomy, Charms, Geomancy, Alchemy," Medieval England: A Dictionary (1999); and "Astrological Influence on Travel," Trade, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia (2002).1993 0-7734-9299-2
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.