Mannyng, Robert, of Brunne

Mannyng, Robert, of Brunne
(ca. 1283–ca. 1340)
   All we know about Robert Mannyng is the little he tells us in his two major poems—Handlyng Synne (1303–17), the first confessional manual in English, and The Story of England, a verse chronicle extending through the reign of Edward I. Mannyng was born at Brunne (or Bourne) in Lincolnshire, and studied at Cambridge between about 1298 and 1302. Shortly thereafter he entered the priory at Sempringham (six miles from Brunne), the founding house of the Gilbertine order. Mannyng was probably a canon there. Almost immediately he began work on Handlyng Synne, which he completed about 1317. After that, we know only that at some point he left Sempringham to reside at the Gilbertine Priory of Sixhills, because he claims that as his residence in his Story of England. That poem, according to the author’s own testimony, was finished in 1338, after which we know nothing of Mannyng’s life. Of the two works, Handlyng Synne is by far the better known. The poem, in 12,638 lines of octosyllabic (eight-syllable) rhyming couplets, is essentially a translation of an Anglo-Norman text, Le Manuel des Péchés, composed in Mannyng’s Lincolnshire in about 1260. (The French poem was originally attributed to William of Waddington, but most likely he was merely the scribe.) These poems are part of a proliferation of such texts in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and subsequent bishops’ decrees, which admonished all Christians to make regular confession to their priests. A number of writers responded by producing guides to the meaning and practice of confession. Handlyng Synne is aimed at the laity (thus its composition in English) with the intent of giving them instruction on the recognition of sin in preparation for confession. In the prologue to the work,Mannyng explains his title by describing our “handling” of sin in three ways: His text will demonstrate how we all “handle” sin in our daily lives without always realizing it; how we need to examine our sins, or “handle” them, by reflecting upon them, so that we can then “handle” them in confession and thereby free ourselves of their taint.Mannyng goes on to structure his text according to the Ten Commandments, the Seven Deadly Sins, the specific sin of sacrilege, the seven sacraments, the 12 points of “shrift” (or confession), and the 12 graces that proceed from those points. The poem ends with a caution against despair: Mannyng makes it clear that one who makes a full and proper confession can be assured of God’s forgiveness. Mannyng’s poem says nothing about penance—he makes it clear that one must confess to a priest to receive the proper penance. His only task is to help the audience recognize sin. It seems clear that Mannyng wanted his work to be read aloud to laymen, mainly to instruct them, but also to provide an alternative to what he thought of as profane tales that they might typically hear at social gatherings. Accordingly Mannyng adds to his source by including a large number of often quite entertaining exempla or illustrations for the various sins he discusses, which he gleans from other texts, from folklore, and from other oral sources. His best-known story is the “Dancers of Colbek.” In this story, a group of carolers on Christmas Eve are dancing in a churchyard. Despite warnings and threats from the priest, the carolers refuse to stop dancing and attend Mass. For their sacrilege the priest curses them and condemns them to continue dancing for an entire year. The priest finds to his chagrin, however, that one of the dancers is his own daughter, Ave.When the girl’s brother attempts to pull her from the endless dance, he pulls her arm off. The curse finally abates after a year, and the dancers are able to return to normal—all except the priest’s daughter, who dies. In grief the priest dies shortly thereafter. It is typical of Mannyng, who displays a genuine antipathy to social injustice, that his story of the carolers raises our sympathies for the dancers far more than for the self-righteous priest who curses them. Mannyng’s other major work, The Story of England, is also a close translation (in some 17,000 lines) of an Anglo-Norman text, a chronicle by Peter of Langtoft, a canon from Bridlington. In his prologue Mannyng says that he was commissioned by Robert of Malton to translate Langtoft. The text, which outlines the history of England from the time of Noah through the reign of Edward I (d. 1307), is also addressed to a lay audience, whom Mannyng intends to instruct on the history of their native land. For the first part of the chronicle, however, Mannyng relies less on Langtoft than on WACE’s Roman de Brut, which he finds more detailed and lively.He also uses Wace’s source, GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH, as well as the Venerable BEDE and other Latin sources. But for the second part of his poem, Mannyng relies almost exclusively on Langtoft.
   ■ Crosby, Ruth. “Robert Mannyng of Brunne: A New Biography,” PMLA 57 (1942): 15–28.
   ■ Mannyng, Robert. Robert Mannyng of Brunne: Handlyng Synne. Edited by Idelle Sullens.Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 14. Binghamton: State University of New York Press, 1983.
   ■ Robertson, D. W., Jr. “The Cultural Tradition of Handlyng Synne,” Speculum 22 (1947): 162–185.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mannyng, Robert — ▪ English poet in full  Robert Mannyng of Brunne  flourished c. 1330       early English poet and author of Handlyng Synne, a confessional manual, and of the chronicle Story of England. The works are preserved independently in several manuscripts …   Universalium

  • Robert de Brunne —    See Mannyng, Robert …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Mannyng, Robert, or Robert de Brunne — (fl. 1288 1338)    Was a Canon of the Gilbertine Order. His work, Handlynge Sinne (c. 1300), translated with original additions from the Manuel des Péchés, a book written in French verse by William of Waddington, is practically a collection of… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Mannyng, Robert (Robert De Brunne) — (?1288 ?1338)    He came from Bourne in Lincolnshire and, in 1288, became a lay brother in the house of the Gilbertine canons at Sempringham, six miles from his birth place. He was at Cambridge University around 1300. One of his two main poems is …   British and Irish poets

  • Robert Mannyng — Robert Manning (or Robert de Brunne) (c. 1275 – c. 1338) was an English chronicler and Gilbertine monk. Mannyng provides a surprising amount of information about himself in his two known works, Handlyng Synne and a Chronicle. In these two works,… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Mannyng of Brunne —     Robert Mannyng of Brunne     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Robert Mannyng of Brunne     Poet. He came from Bourne in Lincolnshire, England. From his own account he entered the house of the Gilbertine Canons at Sempringham in 1288 and at some… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mannyng —   [ mænɪȖ], Manning, Robert, genannt R. of Brunne [brʊn], englischer Dichter, * Brunne (heute Bourne, County Lincolnshire) 1283 (?), ✝ 1338 (?); Mönch; übertrug ein anglonormannisches Moraltraktat, das Verserzählungen um die sieben Todsünden… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Bourne, Lincolnshire — infobox UK place country = England latitude= 52.7684 longitude= 0.3775 official name= Bourne population= 11,933 [Lincolnshire Research Observatory / Office for National Statistics, [http://www.research lro/Site… …   Wikipedia

  • Bourne Abbey — is the name of the parish church in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England. The building remains in parochial use, despite the sixteenth century dissolution, as the nave was used by the parish, probably from the time of the foundation of the Abbey in 1138 …   Wikipedia

  • List of poets — This is a list of poets. It lists notable poets. Alphabetical listcompactTOC NOTOC A Ab Ak*Dannie Abse (born 1923), English poet *Milton Acorn (1923 ndash;1986), Canadian poet, writer, and playwright *Léonie Adams (1899 ndash;1988), American poet …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”