This powerful 7316-line sermon in rhyming couplets dramatically rehearses God's power and man's vulnerability, capturing Man's wretchedness and the world's instability before contemplating Man's journey from death to the anguish of purgatory, hell, or ultimately the joys of heaven.The presentation is informed by sensational descriptions directed to shock, inform, and inspire its audience into religious zeal. Biblical quotations and exegesis precisely reinforce the serious message of salvation and its hazardous impediments in an intense fashion designed to stimulate audience involvement.Although the Main version of the popular Pricke of Conscience has been twice edited from two manuscripts, 1) by William Morris in 1863 and re-edited by Ralph Hanna and Sara Wood in 2013, and 2) by James H. Morey in 2012, no version from the Southern Recension group has been edited to date. This conservatively edited version of a shorter, tighter Southern manuscript remedies the lack. On-line glosses, extensive notes, and translation of Latin quotations make the reading of this fascinating text readily accessible.The seven-part authorial divisions organize the material into easily comprehensible units, highlighting the artistic skill of the anonymous author.
Jean E. Jost is Emerita Professor of English Literature at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois where she taught Medieval Literature, Women's Literature, and Advanced Writing for 27 years.