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Vol. 26 The Doctrinal of Sapience

Edited by Joseph Gallagher (1993). Printed by William Caxton 1489.

Caxton translated The Doctrinal of Sapience from a French original first assembled in 1389. There is no known manuscript tradition in English and the only known translation is Caxton’s single edition, of which thirteen copies survive, four of which are perfect. Like all manuals the Doctrinal deals with the basic elements of the faith.  It is intended for a much less educated and much less sophisticated audience than most other works deriving from the Somme-Miroir tradition. In fact, it reveals the relationship between theology and daily experience with a continuous and often earthy detail rarely found elsewhere.  It contains well over a hundred exempla. Included in the Introduction to this first critical edition is a discussion of Caxton’s translational technique.

This volume is currently out of print.