John Audelay

John Audelay John Audelay John Audelay
John Audelay was a chaplain who served Richard Lestrange, lord of Knockin, in the early part of the fifteenth century. He was a chantry priest at Haughmond Abbey in Shropshire in 1426 when he compiled the collection of poetry that survives in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 302. By this point, he tells us, he was elderly and he was also deaf and blind, although some modern scholars have questioned the extent of his disabilities. It is known that not all of the poetry in his manuscript is his original work: earlier versions of poem no. 16, for example, exist (Whiting 1931, p. xxiv). The attribution to Audelay of two of the most accomplished poems in the manuscript (nos. 53 and 54) has been the subject of much debate (for a defence of Audelay’s authorship, see Stanley 1997; for the opposing view, see most recently Putter 2004).
The poems have only been edited in full once (Whiting 1931; the introduction gives a helpful overview of scholarship up to the date of the edition), although a new TEAMS edition is apparently in progress. Individual poems have also been anthologised or edited elsewhere, though I have not indicated these below (with the exception of Turville Petre 1989, a very useful edition of poem 54).
Audelay’s poetry has started to attract increasing attention from literary critics in the past decade, as the bibliography below attests. Audelay’s poem 2 has attracted particular attention recently because of its place within what has been dubbed ‘the Piers Plowman tradition’ (for this tradition see Barr 1993, although this does not mention Audelay himself). However, a great deal of work remains to be done on John Audelay’s writing and its place in fifteenth-century poetry.
This bibliography focuses on the most recent work on John Audelay. A bibliography of earlier material can be found in Raymo 1986.
This bibliography has been provided by John Spence at the University of Cambridge. Please see our Cambridge Contacts page for details regarding his research and for his contact information.
Posted 15th December 2004

The Poems of John Audelay , ed. by E.K. Whiting, Early English Text Society, Original Series, No. 184 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931).
The text from this edition is available at the Literature Online website.
‘The Three Dead Kings’, in Alliterative Poetry of the Later Middle Ages: An Anthology, ed. by Thorlac Turville-Petre (London: Routledge, 1989), 148 – 157.

MS Douce 302
Fein, Susanna, ‘Good Ends in the Audelay Manuscript’, Yearbook of English Studies 33 (2003), 97 – 119.
Audelay’s biography
Bennett, Michael, ‘John Audelay: Some New Evidence on His Life and Works’, Chaucer Review 16 (1981 – 1982), 344 – 355.
Southam, Herbert, ‘John Audelay: Haughmond Abbey’, Notes and Queries 162 (1932), 214 – 215.
Audelay’s ‘Poem 2’ (see also Stanley 1996 and 1997 below)
The Piers Plowman Tradition: A Critical Edition of Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede, Richard the Redeless, Mum and the Sothsegger and The Crowned King, ed. by Helen Barr (London: J.M. Dent, 1993).
Green, Richard Firth, ‘Marcolf the Fool and Blind John Audelay’ in Speaking Images: Essays in Honor of V. A. Kolve ., ed. by Charlotte C. Morse and Robert F. Yeager (Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 2001), pp. 559-76.
Simpson, James, The Oxford English Literary History Volume 2: 1350-1547: Reform and Cultural Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 378 – 380, 564.
Simpson, James, ‘Saving Satire after Arundel: John Audelay’s Marcol and Solomon ’, in Text and Controversy from Wyclif to Bale: Essays in Honour of Anne Hudson, ed. by Ann Hutchison and Helen Barr (Turnhout: Brepols, 2005), 387 - 404.
Audelay’s poetry
Copley, J., ‘John Audelay's Carols and Music’ English Studies [printed in Amsterdam] 39 (1958), 207 – 12.
Fein, Susanna Greer, ‘A Thirteen-Line Alliterative Stanza on the Abuse of Prayer from the Audelay MS’, Medium Aevum 63 (1994), 61 – 74.
Jones, Melissa, ‘‘Swete May, Soulis Leche’: The Winifred Carol of John Audelay’, Essays in Medieval Studies 14 (1998), 65 – 72.
This can be found online at:
Stanley, Eric G., ‘The True Counsel of Conscience, or The Ladder of Heaven : In Defence of John Audelay's Unlyrical Lyrics’, in Expedition nach der Wahrheit. Poems, Essays, and Papers in Honour of Theo Stemmler; Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Theo Stemmler , ed. by Stefan Horlacher and Marion Islinger (Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1996), pp. 131 – 159.
Stanley, Eric G., ‘The Verse Forms of Jon the Blynde Awdelay’, in The Long Fifteenth Century: Essays for Douglas Gray , ed. by Helen Cooper and Sally Mapstone (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 99 – 121.
The attribution of poems 53 and 54 in MS Douce 302
Dickins, B., ‘The Rhyme-Schemes in MS Douce 302, 53 and 54’, Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society 2 (1932), 516 – 518.
McIntosh, A., ‘Some Notes on the Text of the Middle English Poem De tribus regibus mortuis’, Review of English Studies 28 (1977), 385 – 392.
Putter, Ad, ‘The Language and Metre of Pater Noster and Three Dead Kings', Review of English Studies 55 (2004), 498 – 526.
Turville-Petre, T., ‘ “Summer Sunday”, “De Tribus Regibus Mortuis”, and “The Awntyrs off Arthure”: Three Poems in the Thirteen-Line Stanza’, Review of English Studies 25 (1974), 1 – 14.
Further bibliography
Raymo, Robert R., ‘The Poems of John Audelay’, no. 29 in ‘Works of Religious and Philosophical Instruction’, in A Manual of the Writings in Middle English , gen. ed. Albert E. Hartung, volume 7 (New Haven, CT: Connecticut Academy for Arts and Sciences, 1986), pp. 2275 – 2276, 2503.

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