TITLE

A Birth Girdle Printed by Wynkyn de Worde

AUTHOR(S)
Gwara, Joseph J.; Morse, Mary
PUB. DATE
March 2012
SOURCE
Library;Mar2012, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p33
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The authors identify STC 14547.5 as the only surviving example of an English printed birth girdle. A kind of amulet roll intended to protect women against the dangers of childbirth, this broadside is essentially a typographical version of a manuscript birth girdle, a textual interpretation of a holy relic such as the Virgin's Girdle once in Westminster Abbey. The authors analyze several key features of STC 14547.5, paying special attention to its textual relationship to five fifteenth-century English amulet rolls that may have been used as birth girdles and to an unstudied Latin charm preserved in British Library MS Sloane 783b, a medical codex of English provenance. The authors also comment on the connection between STC 14547.5 and STC 14077c.64, a broadside prayer attributed to the Southwark press of Peter Treveris. Their analysis suggests that STC 14547.5 was printed in 1533 in response to the pregnancy of Anne Boleyn, whereas STC 14077c.64 arguably reflected popular fears surrounding the 1528 outbreak of the sweating sickness. The commercialization of amulet rolls presupposed the broad acceptance in England of SS Quiricus and Julitta (the child and mother martyrs invoked as intercessors in both STC 14547.5 and STC 14077c.64) as effective conduits for the curative and protective powers of Christ.
ACCESSION #
73767057

 

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