Chapter

Imagination in Translation: Love's <i>Myrrour</i> and <i>The Prickynge of Love</i>

Michelle Karnes

in Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780226425313
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226425337 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226425337.003.0007
Imagination in Translation: Love's Myrrour and The Prickynge of Love

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This chapter focuses on Middle English translations of the two gospel meditations, that is, the Meditationes vitae Christi and Stimulus amoris. It argues that the translations make substantial changes to their sources, with the effect of limiting the power of imagination. The main aim of the chapter is to mark an end to the period of imaginative meditations that are considered in this book. Imagination's high-level cognitive work started to garner less attention toward the end of the fourteenth century, when imagination became a less pressing concern in universities. The translations considered in this chapter scale back the theological ambition of gospel meditations, reflecting both contemporary philosophical trends and the church's more suspicious attitude toward mystical experience. They accordingly reconfigure imagination, making it consonant with the works' different aims. In these translations, imagination remains useful for meditating on Christ's earthly life, but it no longer provides a bridge to his divinity.

Keywords: Middle English; gospel meditations; power of imagination; cognitive work; Christ; translations; meditation

Chapter.  13624 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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