Sara M. Pons-Sanz, University of Westminster 1. INTRODUCTION The Ormulum is an early Middle English work of Biblical exegesis. It was initially intended to provide a commentary on all the Gospel extracts used in the mass throughout the year, starting from the Christmas season; however, it was never finished, running out after thirty homilies and lasting for twenty thousand lines, about an eighth of the original plan.1 Scholars are generally dismissive about its literary interest, to the extent that Millward tells us that "as literature, the result is worthless,"2 and Burnley characterizes the fact that we only have a fraction of the initial plan as "merciful."3 Its style is often said to be tedious, monotonous, boring, and diffuse.4 In fact, one can be doubtful about whether the text actually reached a contemporary audience, as it is only preserved in a manuscript that is likely to be an autograph (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Junius 1), although Jan van Vliet, a seventeenth-century owner of the Junius manuscript, copied some extracts in London, Lambeth Palace, MS 783.5 The language of the text is a different matter, though, as linguists have recognized for quite some time its value, not only in connection
JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology – University of Illinois Press
Published: Oct 1, 2015
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