A Companion to Marguerite Porete and The Mirror of Simple Souls


Even with growing popularity in the United States, there existed no English-language scholarly introduction to Marguerite Porete or her sole-surviving work Mirror of Simple Souls until now. The study of Marguerite and her work touches on so many disciplines – from religious and secular histories to theological and literary readings of her book – that the scholarship had often been lost in the divides between the disciplines. Our contributors are chosen from both sides of the Atlantic and from an array of disciplines in order to bridge this geographical and linguistic divide. The interdisciplinary nature of the interest in Marguerite and the Mirror and the implications her book has on medieval scholarship make a collection such as this companion ideal.

Contributors are Marleen Cré, Imke De Gier, Dávid Falvay, Sean Field, Geneviève Hasenohr (with Zan Kocher), Jonathan Juilfs, Zan Kocher, Joanne Robinson, Elizabeth Scarborough, Robert Stauffer, Wendy R. Terry, and Justine Trombley.

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Biographical Note

Wendy R. Terry, Ph.D. (2007), Graduate Theological Union, is a Continuing Lecturer in Religious Studies at University of California, Davis. Her other work on Marguerite includes Seeing Marguerite in the Mirror: A Linguistic Analysis of Porete's 'Mirror of Simple Souls' (Peeters, 2011).

Robert Stauffer, Ph.D. (2011), Arizona State University, is an Assistant Professor of English at Dominican College of Blauvelt in Orangeburg, NY. Among works of fiction and biography, he has also written for the forthcoming Ballad of the Lone Medievalist (Punctum Press).

Table of contents

Notes on Contributors

List of Illustrations


Robert Stauffer

Editors’ Introduction
Wendy R. Terry

Section 1—Marguerite Porete and the Writing of The Mirror

Chapter 1
Debating the Historical Marguerite Porete
Sean L. Field

Chapter 2
Marguerite’s Mystical Annihilation
Joanne Maguire Robinson

Chapter 3
A Review of Possible Theological Sources for Marguerite Porete’s Mirror
Wendy R. Terry

Chapter 4
Literary Sources of the Mirror of Simple Souls
Zan Kocher

Chapter 5
Exemplum ‘Ce livre monstrera a tous vraye lumiere de verité. The Role of the Mirror of Simple Souls as a book.
Imke de Gier

Section 2—Translations and Transmission of The Mirror

Chapter 6
The Tradition of the Mirror of Simple Souls in the Fifteenth Century: From Marguerite Porete (†1310) to Marguerite of Navarre (†1549)"
written and updated by Geneviève Hasenohr, translated by Zan Kocher

Chapter 7
The Latin Manuscripts of The Mirror of Simple Souls
Justine L. Trombley

Chapter 8
The Italian Version of the Mirror: Manuscripts, Diffusion and Communities in the 14-15th Century
Dávid Falvay

Chapter 9
Further thoughts on M.N.’s Middle English Translation of Marguerite’s Mirouer des simples âmes anienties
Marleen Cré

Chapter 10
Possibilities for the Identity of the English Translator of The Mirror of Simple Souls
Robert Stauffer

Section 3—Modern Scholarship: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Chapter 11
Marguerite Porete and Various Modern Critical Approaches
Elizabeth Scarborough

Chapter 12
Mirrors on the Wall: Which One Is Fairest of Them All?
Jonathan Juilfs


General Index


All interested in medieval women’s or Church history, generally, or specifically in Marguerite Porete (d. 1310), heresy issues, or mystical and spiritual writings in western Europe and reception since their writing.