The visibility of the translator: The Speculum Ecclesie and The Mirror of Holy Church

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This article discusses a 13th-century Latin devotional text, the Speculum Ecclesie, originally composed in Latin by Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury, and its 15th-century Middle English translation, The Mirror of Holy Church. The Middle English Mirror is on the whole a highly literalist translation of the Latin source text. However, this apparent fidelity of the Middle English text turns out to be deceptive: detailed comparison of the surviving Middle English manuscripts shows that one manuscript (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 25) attempts to address a wider range of audiences than the other manuscripts, by way of employing Anglo-Saxon-derived words as well as French- or Latin-derived words. The Middle English Mirror of Holy Church thus illustrates an important aspect of the late-medieval linguistic landscape, foregrounding the translator's pedagogical effort to include those readers who were probably not comfortable with Latin- or French-derived vocabulary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-552
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Edmund of Abingdon
  • Middle English devotional literature
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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