State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 51 & 52 1993


“Me thowhte as I slepte that I was a pilgrime”: Text and Illustration in Deguilleville's “Pilgrimages” in the State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is fortunate in possessing a rare fifteenth-century English illuminated manuscript, containing two related works, the Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode and the Pilgrimage of the Sowle (shelf no. *096G94).
The Middle English text, of which this manuscript is one of the few surviving copies, is an anonymous early fifteenth-century translation of the popular French verse narratives the Pèlerinage de la vie humaine and its sequel, the Pèlerinage de l'âme. These two works were composed in 1331 and 1355–8 respectively by Guillaume de Deguilleville, a Cistercian monk of the royal abbey of Chaalis near the French town of Senlis. In 1358 Deguilleville followed these works with a third Pèlerinage, not represented in the State Library manuscript, the Pèlerinage de Jhesuchrist.1
The narrative of Deguilleville's first two Pèlerinages, like its close Middle English translation, is based on the medieval device of the dream allegory.2 Deguilleville's narrator, ostensibly the author himself, relates a vision he experienced while asleep in his bed at the abbey. He dreams he is a pilgrim, who sees from afar the city of Jerusalem in a mirror. Greatly moved by the beauty of the sight he resolves to make a journey to the heavenly city. His ensuing pilgrimage, on a literal level a dangerous journey into the unknown, is also an allegory of human life from birth to death and beyond. In the second book, the Pèlerinage de l'âme, the pilgrim's soul is judged according to its actions during life. Escorted to Purgatory by its guardian angel, it witnesses both the horrors of hell and bliss of heaven. At the end of this book the author/narrator, still in his bed, is wakened by a burst of divine light at midnight, having learned a salutary lesson in the principles of Christian life.
According to his own admission, Deguilleville based his works on the Roman de la Rose.3 However unlike Jean de Meun's erotic allegory, Deguilleville's is highly moral and didactic, and almost encyclopaedic in its detailed explanation of the beliefs and precepts necessary for a Christian life. The genius of Deguilleville is that he succeeds in couching this potentially dry and complex moral treatise in a witty and highly entertaining narrative.
In the Pélerinage de la vie humaine the pilgrim is presented as a kind of “everyman” anti-hero, desperate to follow the straight and narrow path to salvation, but misled by his own foolishness and weakness. Only wise advice from his long suffering guide, Grace Dieu, prevents the hapless pilgrim from destroying any chance of reaching heavenly Jerusalem. In the second book after the pilgrim's soul is judged, it realises with clarity, but too late, the errors made during life.
The engaging narrative of Deguilleville's Pèlerinages proved very popular and in the late Middle Ages manuscripts were widely disseminated both in the original French and in various translations. During the fifteenth century French prose and Latin prose versions appeared, as well as Dutch, Spanish, German verse and prose and English verse and prose translations.
The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of Manhode (Pilgrimage of the Life of Man) and Pilgrimage of the Sowle (Pilgrimage of the Soul) in the State Library of Victoria is an English prose translation, bound in one volume, of Deguilleville's first two Pèlerinages.4 The translation of these two texts dates from the early fifteenth century, and this manuscript was produced not long after, probably around 1430.5 While other English translations of the Pèlerinages were undertaken in the fifteenth century, manuscripts of this particular English prose version are not common, and illustrated copies even rarer. In fact this manuscript represents one of only two surviving illustrated copies of the Pilgrimage of the
Life of Man
and one of eight illustrated copies of the Pilgrimage of the Soul.6
The State Library example is also the only extant manuscript of the English translation (although not of the French original) which presents the first two Pilgrimages as a single volume.7 Some dispute has arisen as to whether the manuscript was originally planned as two companion volumes or as a single book. Recent conservation of the volume has provided codicological evidence which all but confirms the latter view.8 Certainly, the consistent script and decoration of the manuscript suggest that the book was conceived as a single undertaking.
With the exception of one folio, which appears to have replaced a damaged leaf, the script is the work of one scribe. He writes in a Lincolnshire dialect in a regular “anglicana formata” bookhand dating from the second quarter of the fifteenth century and has signed his name “Bennet” in several places (fols. 77v., 95v., 125v., 215v.). The vellum is irregular and sometimes repaired with contemporary stitching. Occasionally the scribe has written around imperfections and holes in the parchment, indicating that the manuscript was never intended as a luxury production.
It is not known for whom the manuscript was made. The recently removed seventeenth-century binding bore the arms of the Clifford family of Chudleigh on the front pastedown and the signature of Sir John Roucliffe of Cowthorpe, South Yorkshire appears on fols 1 and 215v. Sir John, who died in 1531, may have inherited this book from his grandfather Sir Guy Roucliffe, who died in 1460. Sir John's great-granddaughter Anne married Sir Ingram Clifford of Cowthorpe, and the manuscript may have passed down through her to the Cliffords of Chudleigh.9 The book was acquired through the Felton Bequest for the State Library of Victoria in 1936.
The decoration is confined to blue initials decorated with red flourishes. Red rubrics appear beneath each of the 71 illustrations throughout the book. The Life is illustrated by 37 drawings and the Soul by 34 with a blank space left for another that was never executed on the opening page, fol. 96. These unframed illustrations are executed in dark brown ink on the bare vellum background.

Fig. 14. Soul is led to Paradise. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.127r.

Only those up to fol. 57 are sparingly coloured in blue, green, yellow and pink wash. These coloured washes were applied progressively one by one, each discontinued at a different stage, suggesting that they were added after completion of the pictorial programme.
These unpretentious illustrations are in keeping with the modest presentation of the manuscript as a whole. The absence of expensive pigments and the artist's sometimes unsophisticated technique indicate that they were not costly products of a fashionable workshop. Stylistically these strongly linear drawings are unusual, and to date no other work by the artist has been located.10 Possibly he was from a provincial centre or was a skilled amatur working alone.
These illustrations, despite their artlessness, do possess a certain expressive charm and confidence. Somehow they serve Deguilleville's narrative well, for like the pilgrim himself, the drawings are naive but energetic and determined. All the same, some illustrations in the manuscript are quite striking in design and technique.
Two such examples appear in the second section, the Pilgrimage of the Soul. After his trial the soul of our pilgrim is shown by his guardian angel a purged soul entering heavenly bliss, transported by angels to the accompaniment of music (Fig. 14).

Plate 22. Pride riding on shoulders of Flattery. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.51v.


Plate 23. Envy Carries her daughters, Treachery and Detraction. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94. f.57r.

Another effective image appears on fol. 140v. While in purgatory the soul is forced by the guardian angel to witness the progressive decomposition of his own dead body. Seven stages of increasingly repellent decay are shown in this compelling drawing (Fig. 15).
Yet the skill of the artist lies not so much in technique but in an ability to accurately pictorialise the details of Deguilleville's text. This desire of the artist to interpret the text as closely and literally as possible is quite revealing. It can be shown that the illustrations, despite their literalness, do serve an allegorical reading of the text. In addition, we can also make some suggestions about the artist's sources. The close relationship existing between text and illustration could conceivably be the result of the artist's own interpretation of the text. Alternatively, the artist is using an already illustrated model which was the result of a close reading of the text.
To demonstrate these points and also to convey something of the spirit of Deguilleville's text, I will describe aspects of the narrative, paying particular attention to perhaps the most original and vivid section, the pilgrim's meeting with the Seven Deadly Sins in the Pilgrimage of the Life of Man.11 Folio numbers refer to relevant illustrations in the manuscript.
After the pilgrim resolves to visit the heavenly city of Jerusalem, he meets Grace Dieu, a beautiful lady who explains that he can accomplish his mission only with her aid. She also explains that having spent nine months in the “hows ful of dunge” he must cross the cleansing water in front of her grand house (fol.4). So the pilgrim receives the first sacrament of baptism and it is only after receiving or witnessing the remaining six sacraments that he is deemed ready for his holy pilgrimage.
Grace Dieu then furnishes him with a pilgrim's essential equipment, the staff, called Hope and his satchel, Faith, hung with twelve bells on which are inscribed the Creed (fol. 25). She also provides him with a protective suit of armour, each part of which is named after Christian virtues such as Patience, Fortitude, Temperance and Sobriety (fol. 28). As yet the pilgrim is too weak to bear the

Fig. 15. Decaying corpse. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.140v.

heavy load; he complains bitterly of the discomfort and his inability to hear, see or smell from under the helmet. Irritated, Grace Dieu declares him “to fat and haste to miche grees under the wynge”, and summons a “wenche”, Memory, to carry the armour for the pilgrim. Being able to see the past but not the future, Memory has eyes in the back of her head, expressed in the State Library manuscript as closed eyes — the literal interpretation being beyond this artist's (and artists of other Pilgrimage cycles) conceptual or technical capabilities (fol.34v.). The pilgrim expresses great indignation and incredulity that Memory is capable of bearing his armour: “the craft of swich a wenche is but to bere a pot”. Nevertheless she does, and the two set out on their way, protected by the invisible presence of Grace Dieu.
After the pilgrim meets the churl (or lout), Natural Understanding (fol.36), Reason instructs the pilgrim at some length on the distinction between the cause of his weakness, his body and the source of his strength, his soul. They part on her admonition not to trust his disloyal body. The pilgrim then encounters two characters at a crossroad divided by the hedge of Penance (fol. 46v.; Manion and Vines, Fig. 97). On the right hand side sits an industrious man, Labour, involved in weaving, unravelling and reweaving a mat. On the other side is Idleness, a woman described as playing with a glove in one hand and with the other hand tucked under her arm; both traditional attributes of lechery. Here the artist has depicted
her as close to the text as he could, with the additional characteristics of wanton, flowing hair and slitted, come-hither eyes. Faced with choosing the correct path, the pilgrim promptly forgets Reason's warnings and succumbs to Idleness's promises of music, bodily pleasure and delight. In foolishly taking her road he condemns himself to meeting the Seven Deadly Sins, the first of whom is Sloth.
Sloth is a vile old woman, “wyf to the boucher of helle”, who catches the wayward pilgrim by the feet with cords made of “synewes al black and twyned and out of my wombe drawen”. The cords' names are Negligence, Lethargy and Despair, and she carries an axe called Depression. The illustration of Sloth depicts her as a frowning hag directing the bound, captured pilgrim along the path (fol.49).
Soon thereafter they enter a valley, “foul and dep and derk” where two old crones approach them (Plate 22). One of these hags is riding on the shoulders of the other. The one being so carried is described as “so gret and so swollen that hire gretness passede mesure. It was not werk of nature as argued hire shap. At hire nekke she bar a staf, and an horn she hadde in hire forhed …”. She also has a horn, for blowing, in one hand and wears like a satchel a great pair of bellows on a thong. She wears spurs, and it seems to the pilgrim that she is the mistress of her bearer. She explains that she is Pride, the daughter of Lucifer. She causes vanity in dress, will have no master, critic or teacher and is intolerant of the less intelligent. She is swollen and puffed up with pomposity. “I am as a swollen bladder that hath in it but stench when a man breketh it or unbindeth it”. Her horns are called Boasting and Cruelty, her bellows Vainglory, the staff Obstinacy and the spurs Disobedience and Rebellion. She wears a white mantle, Hypocrisy, to conceal her ugliness and to deceive people into thinking her beautiful. The hag who bears her is Flattery. While all the old hags are “fed, norished and susteyned with my brestes”, Flattery claims a special relationship with Pride, who would fall without her constant patronage. Obsequiously she repeats and agrees with all that Pride says.
The depiction of Flattery and Pride is very close to Deguilleville's description. The artist takes pains to show most of their attributes, including Pride's swollen cheeks and Flattery's expression of false humility. He does not, however, show the pilgrim still bound by Sloth's cords, although he remains so in the text. In this illustration as in others throughout the manuscript, there is close attention to the literal details of appearance, but a reluctance to describe more complicated narrative or alternative, allegorical meaning.
This is apparent in other representations of the Seven Deadly Sins. Shortly after meeting Flattery and Pride, the pilgrim is approached by another hag who creeps on all fours, “as a dragoun” and is “so leene and so drye that she hadde in hire (neither) flesh ne blood” (Plate 23). She has two spears attached to her eyes and reveals her identity as Envy, conceived by Pride with Satan. The two spears are called “Anger at the Joy of Others” and “Joy at the Misfortune of Others”. She explains that the misery of others is her food while their wellbeing “eteth my blood”. On her back ride her two daughters. Treachery and Detraction. The first covers her face and holds a jar of ointment and in the other hand, concealed behind her back, she holds a knife. The pilgrim learns that Treachery carries out Envy's wishes by anointing those she wants to stab and hiding her thoughts with lies behind her false face. Her sister, Detraction sits behind her, who instead of a tongue has a spear skewered with human ears. They represent the ears of those foolish enough to listen to her, and are fed to Detraction's mother, Envy, like meat on a spit.
Again, the artist has taken care to show these details, like Envy's dragon-like clawed feet and emaciated ribs, and Treason's hand concealed behind her back. By now the composition of the drawings have become quite standard, with the pilgrim standing at left in a stock pose, and the Sin with her accomplices presented at right. This format is repeated for the other Sins the pilgrim encounters: Wrath, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust.
Wrath or Ire appears as the pilgrim is attacked by Envy and her daughters. Wrath approaches running, and appears all pointed like a hedgehog (Fig. 16). She carries a scythe on a string and two grey flints. In her mouth she bears a saw. She
describes herself as “prikkinge and hateful, impacient and ryght bisy”. Her flints, which she sparks by rubbing together are called Spite and Quarrel. They forged the saw in her mouth, Hatred, which severs relationships. Her scythe is named Murder.
Next on the path is Avarice, perceived in the late Middle Ages as the most treacherous of the Deadly Sins. This is reflected in this manuscript by the large size of the drawing (fol. 64; Manion and Vines, Fig. 101). She appears to the pilgrim as particularly ugly; he has seen nothing “foulere in the Appocalipsis”. She has six “taking” hands and two stumps, her “giving” hands having been cut off. Each hand carries an attribute appropriate to Avarice, such as a file to grind down the possessions of others. An idol (maumet) sits on her head, and a sack around her neck will admit goods but let nothing out. Avarice's desire and ardour for possessions generates such heat that she pants like a dog, her tongue hanging out. Here the context described in the text as a deep valley is suggested by trees in the background.
The final Sins to be endured by the unlucky pilgrim are Gluttony and Venus, or Lust (Fig. 17). These two appear together, Gluttony leading the way with hands outstretched ready to strangle him. She has staring eyes and a long nose to smell food through kitchen windows. Between her teeth she carries a sack into which she stuffs food until it becomes foul and stinking and behind her she leaves a trail of dung. Gluttony has two stomachs, one called Drunkenness, the other Bottomless Pit. Her companion Venus follows, astride a boar. She also is “foule stinkinge and dungy” despite her superficially fine dress. She wears a hood and carries a mask to conceal her own filthy face, and tells the pilgrim that if he knew the places that she went into for her lust, and how often, he would be appalled. Beneath her cloak she carries instruments too awful to show, called Rape, Debauchery, Incest, Fornication, Adultery and another too terrible to even name. A detail worth noting in the illustration is Venus' hood, with which she shields her face in quite a subtle way. Here the artist appears to be understanding and responding to the textual narrative.
The Seven Deadly Sins then attack the pilgrim, taking from him his satchel, Hope but not his staff, Faith. He is desolate, but Grace Dieu reappears and teaches him a prayer, the ABC to the Virgin. His satchel is restored and the old crones hurry away in confusion, but as the narrator/pilgrim ominously adds, he has seen them since then and they have done him great harm.
The pilgrim resumes his journey, finally entering the Ship of Religion, or monastic life (fol.86). At the end he is visited by Old Age and Infirmity (fol.90v.) Just before the approach of Death, he arrives at the gate to the heavenly city of Jerusalem, but learns he cannot enter before payment of his debts in Purgatory — the subject of the Pilgrimage of the Soul. At this point the dreamer is awakened by the bell for Matins at his monastery in Chaalis.

Fig. 16. Pilgrim meets the hag. Ire. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.61r.

In the Pilgrimage of the Soul the narrator again falls asleep and this time dreams of the journey of his soul from the moment of death until it reaches Paradise. The narrative and its illustrations fall into several sections. First, the soul is taken by its guardian angel to be judged at St Michael's court, where God's daughters Justice, Truth and Reason preside. The soul's accuser is Sinderesis, “the worm of conscience” (fols 100.
110, 111, 116, 118, 120v, 123). Condemned to temporary punishment in Purgatory, the soul meets its own corpse and has a vision of hell and the punishment of sinners. Recalling the Sins of the first Pilgrimage, several illustrations relate to the various torments of hell reserved for those guilty of usury (fol. 149v.), gluttony (fol. 15 lv.), treason (fol. 147v.), anger (fol. 150v.) and lechery (fol. 152). One drawing of hell's torments shows sinners hanging by the part of the body associated with their particular sin (Fig. 18).
The following section is more discursive, including the allegory of the green tree and the dry tree (fol. 154). The dry tree represents the tree of knowledge that withered when robbed of its fruit by Adam. The guardian of the green tree is the Virgin and its fruit is symbolic of Christ. Justice demands that the living fruit be given to the dry tree as payment for that wrongfully taken by Adam. A debate over who should get the apple follows (fol. 161v.). The Trinity discuss the problem, and the Son agrees to pay the price of the apple that grew on the green tree by being nailed to the dry tree of the cross.

Fig. 17. Gluttony followed by Venus on a pig. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.70v.

After the vision of asses in tombs (fol. 166, Manion and Vines, Fig. 102) and another lengthy allegory of two statues (fol. 174) the soul is led into Paradise, where he sees Adam and Eve and their descendants under the Tree of Life (fol. 206, Manion and Vines, Fig. 103). Having reached Paradise, the narrator is woken by a flash of divine light.
The illustration in the Pilgrimage of the Life of Man and the Pilgrimage of the Soul describes very literally the concrete details in the text. The various episodes are almost always depicted precisely according to Deguilleville's description, but without an allegorical pictorial interpretation. For example, the parable of the green and dry trees gives the artist an opportunity, not taken up, to enter into a more allegorical mode. Artists of other Pilgrimage manuscripts do at times depict other than the completely literal, for example showing the symbol of the Virgin seated among the branches of the green tree.12 The Melbourne artist however, is content to show isolated images of the two trees without any allegorical subtext (fol. 161 v.).
Nevertheless, while not explicitly allegorical, the Melbourne artist's literal approach does serve the allegorical narrative by providing visual clarification of the often dense and difficult text. The illustrations operate in part as a guide to the allegory, a checklist, if you like, of the most important aspects of the particular lesson. We see this most clearly with the artist's careful depiction of the various attributes and sub-attributes of the Sins. As the narrative unfolds and each aspect of the Sin is explicated, the reader (or listener), like the pilgrim, is asked to contemplate on their meanings. Certainly, Deguilleville's treatise on the proper Christian life would be less accessible without these guiding pictures, and it has been argued that he composed his Pèlerinage trilogy with illustrations in mind.13
While proper understanding of the text is aided by the illustration, the illustration is quite dependent on the text for its meaning. As it is usually only at the end of each Sin's speech that its identity is revealed, the illustration, which the artist places before the relevant passage, is initially incomprehensible, a puzzle that can only be slowly deciphered with the aid of the text.
It can be seen then, that a reading sensitive to the allegory relies on a degree of interdependence

Fig. 18. Hell-torments. Pilgrimage of the Life of Man. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *096/G94.f.146r.

between text and illustration. This is expressed also by the physical proximity of text to illustration. The absence of any framing device and the use of black-brown ink for both text and drawings serves to facilitate the reader's visual transition between text and image.
The responsiveness of the artist to the text, both in terms of content and the manuscript's layout and planning, must raise the possibility that the artist devised the programme through his own reading and interpretation of the text. This is an attractive notion, especially in view of the scarcity of illustrated English manuscripts of Deguilleville's works. However, it must be remembered that French copies of the Pèlerinage would have been circulating in England in the early fifteenth century, and our artist may well have been influenced by these pictorial cycles.
There is some evidence that the positioning of the illustrations in the text are not wholly original. Spaces left by the scribe of this manuscript for illustration are consistent with placement in the only other illustrated English Lyfe (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud misc. 740), suggesting a common exemplar.14 Such an exemplar may have been prepared for miniatures that were never completed; while the two manuscripts include illustrations in similar or the same positions, subject matter and composition never concur. Another possibility is that the scribe presented the manuscript to the artist for illumination without indicating the subjects of his exemplar's illustrations.
The artist's attention to textual detail is to some extent an indication that the illustrations were not the result of reliance on an often repeated artistic model. Repeated copyings without reference to a text usually dilutes the narrative effectiveness of images. Artists can easily repeatedly misinterpret obscure images or unintentionally eliminate small but textually important pictorial details. There is much potential for these sort of misunderstandings in Deguilleville's complex narrative, and some late fifteenth-century French illuminations do betray artists' use of inaccurate or generalised models.15
This is clearly not the case in the Melbourne Pilgrimage. If the artist did use models, then they themselves must have been very accurate and possibly the result of close textual interpretation. However, exploration of the artist's dependence on English and French pictorial models, like his unusual style, must await further research into this remarkable manuscript.
Hilary Maddocks

Plate 24. Title-page. Augustan History. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *f096.1/Au4.f.1r.


Plate 25 (above). Aureolus. Augustan History. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *f096.1/Au4.f.119r.

Plate 26 (above). Benozzo Gozzoli, Lorenzo as Magus. Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 1459. (detail)

Plate 27 (below). Censorinus. Augustan History. Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, *f096.1/Au4.f.125v. (detail).


The best account of the life and work of Guillaume de Deguilleville is Edmund Faral, “Guillaume de Deguilleville, Moine de Chaalis”. Histoire Littéraire de la France XXXIX. 1962, pp. 1–132.


The most recent editions of Deguilleville's Pèlerinages were edited by J. J. Stürzinger for the Roxburghe Club, London: Le Pèlerinage de vie humaine de Guillaume de Deguilleville, 1893; Le Pèlerinage de l'âme, 1895; Le Pèlerinage de Jhesucrist, 1897. The Middle English translation has recently appeared in two editions: Avril Henry, The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode, The Early English Text Society, London, 1985; Rosemarie Potz McGerr, The Pilgrimage of the Soul; A Critical Edition of the Middle English Dream Vision, 2 vols, New York, 1990. The French verse Pèlerinage de la vie humaine appears in a modern English prose translation by Eugene Clasby, Guillaume de Deguilleville; The Pilgrimage of Human Life (Le Pèlerinage de la vie humaine), New York, 1992.


See Avril Henry, II. 5–8; 7298–9.


The Melbourne manuscript has been described by Keith Sinclair, Descriptive Catalogue of Medieval and Western Renaissance Manuscripts in Australia, Sydney 1969. pp. 364–8; M.M. Manion and V.F. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts in Australian Collections, 1984. pp. 110–2, figs 96–103, pl. 28; Rosemarie Potz McGerr, The Pilgrimage of the Soul, pp. lxxxvii-xcii; Avril Henry, The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode, pp. xxxviii — xlii. See also Hilary Maddocks. “The Pilgrimage of the Life of Man” in the State Library of Victoria, Honours thesis. Department of Fine Arts, University of Melbourne, 1980 (unpublished).


The hands of the two scribes have been dated to the second quarter of the fifteenth century. The armour depicted in several illustrations has been dated no later than 1433. See Avril Henry. The Pilgrimagè of the Lyfe, p. xxxviii.


The two illustrated manuscripts of the Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode are the Melbourne copy and Oxford. Bodleian Library. MS Laud Misc. 740. Those of the Pilgrimage of the Sowle are, in addition to the Melbourne manuscript: Cambridge. Caius College MS 124; Cambridge University Library. MS Kk.1.7; Hatfield House. Cecil MS 270; London, British Library, Egerton MS 615; London, British Library, Add. MS. 34193; Oxford, Bodleian Library. MS. 770; New York, Public Library Spencer MS. 19. Illustrated extracts appear in London, British Library, Add. MS 37049. For a description of illustrated and unillustrated manuscripts of the Lyfe and the Sowle see Avril Henry. The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe and Rosemarie Potz McGerr. The Pilgrimage of the Soul.


Some of the 86 extant manuscripts of Deguilleville's original French verse do contain only the first two parts of the trilogy. See Michael Camille's study, The Illustrated Manuscripts of Deguilleville's Pèlerinages 1330–1426, Ph.D dissertation, Cambridge University, 1984 (unpublished), pp. 273–5.


The opening folio of the Sowle, fol. 96r — v, is written in a different hand, with spaces left for an uncompleted illustration and initials. The work of the main scribe resumes on fol. 97, where four words from the previous folio are repeated and crossed. Both Sinclair, Descriptive Catalogue and Manion and Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts collated the manuscript 1–9(10), 10(5), 11–22(10), 23(2). Manion and Vines believed that the new scribe began work on the first page of the 11th quire, and suggested that the two works were planned as twin volumes which were only united in the seventeenth-century binding. Henry, The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe suggested a different collation: 1–9(10), 10(10) wants 6, 7, 8 before fol. 96 and 10 after it probably blank 11(10) wants 1 before fol. 97 12–22(10), 23(2). The first leaf of quire 11, which would have carried the beginning of the new work, is missing and the last is detached. The beginning of the Sowle actually appears on the last folio of quire 10. Henry suggests that the first leaf of quire 11 was damaged prior to binding and the contents transferred to the best of 5 blanks at that stage forming the end of quire 10. The other 4 blanks were then cut away. Recently the seventeenth-century binding of the manuscript was removed for conservation and microfilming. Examination of the book in its unbound state confirms Henry's collation. For further discussion on the collation see Rosemarie Potz McGerr, The Pilgrimage of the Soul. pp. xci-xcii.


See Rosemarie Potz McGerr, The Pilgrimage of the Soul. pp. xc — xci.


This was contimed by Kathleen Scott in Manion and Vines. Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts, p. 112. The style of this artist has not been considered since. Avril Henry has published a brief comparison of the programmes of the two illustrated manuscripts of the Lyfe without commenting on the artists' styles. See “The Illuminations in the Two Illustrated Middle English Manuscripts of the Prose ‘Pilgrimage of the Lyfe of the Manhode”'. Scriptorium 37, 1983, pp.264–73.


All quotes are from Avril Henry's edition of the Middle English translation. The Pilgrimage of the Lyfe.


For a discussion of more allegorical French representations of the parable of the green tree and dry tree see M. Camille. The Illustrated Manuscripts, pp. 132–6.


This is discussed by M. Camille, The Illustrated Manuscripts, pp. 5 ff. Deguilleville himself refers to an illustration accompanying the text. In the fourth book of the Lyfe, the pilgrim meets Satan fishing for souls, and explains that the sight is so vile and foul that he cannot speak of it, but has had a picture made instead; “I shulde haue gret affray if I speke yow longe therof. Ordeyned I haue that peynted it be heere and figured, to that ende that who that wole mowe see it … ” (A. Henry. I. pp. 6171–5). This episode is illustrated in the Melbourne manuscript (fol. 80). The roles of the textual and visual in Deguilleville's allegory are discussed in broader, more theoretical terms in Susan K. Hagen, Allegorical Remembrance: A Study of the Pilgrimage of the Life of Man as a Medieval Treatise on Seeing and Remembering, Georgia, 1990.


This has been established by Avril Henry, “The Illuminations in the Two Middle English Manuscripts”.


For example, the 1499 French prose version of the Pèlerinage de la vie humaine printed by Verard and illuminated for Henry VII of England. This was reproduced by the Roxburghe Club in a 1912 edition edited by A. W. Pollard. These illuminations follow the narrative in a general sense, but the absence of detail must render them inadequate guides to the essential allegory. Their role seems to be primarily decorative.