Thomas More's Prayer Book

A Facsimile Reproduction of the Annotated Pages

St. Thomas More; Transcribed by Louis L. Martz and Richard S. Sylvester

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These facsimile pages are taken from a Latin Book of Hours and a liturgical Latin Psalter which were in St. Thomas More’s possession while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London and which he used for meditation during the period before his execution. In the margins of nineteen pages of the Book of Hours, More wrote his “Godly Meditation,” lines resonant with his intense spirituality as he pondered his awaiting death yet reflecting the lot of any Christian as he endeavors to “walk the narrow way”; the margins of the Psalter include 150 notes that give deep insight into More’s personal grief and sorrows during his imprisonment. The annotated pages of both volumes are here reproduced in their original size, with those from the Book of Hours in full color.
Mr. Martz and Mr. Sylvester, both professor of English at Yale University and chairman and executive editor, respectively, of the Yale Edition of the Works of St. Thomas More, provide full transcriptions of all the marginalia, with translations of the Latin notes, as well as an Introduction describing the books and analyzing the spiritual and scholarly significance of the annotation. A companion volume to the Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More.

"Martz's book presents a positive image of More for modern readers who desire an alternative to the harsher critical evaluations of recent years. The best short introduction available to More's works written in the Tower."—Alistair Fox, University of Otago (New Zealand)

"A splendid antidote to revisionist charges that recently threatened to cloud the reputation of Thomas More. Martz concentrates on the evidence of More's intense struggle during a dark period of history to balance the demands of secular life and the demands of faith. Anyone interested in More, or, for that matter, in what religious faith is all about, will find this book deeply rewarding."—O. B. Hardison, Jr., Georgetown University

"Professor Martz in his book defends brilliantly the humane, wise, and heroic saint whose integrity and motivation in resisting his king have been questioned in recent writings."—Columbian Mission Magazine

"Louis Martz . . . is eminently qualified to speak for More. . . . Skillfully analyzing both Holbein's portraits of More and his family and the writings of More himself, Martz cuts down the revived charge of More as a bloodthirsty hunter of heretics, a furious, sexually repressed, and frustrated man. . . . This penetrating rebuttal of the revisionists deserves high commendation."—Choice

"Martz draws a compelling picture of More's attempts during his lonely imprisonment to adjust to his human fear of death and to see his own plight in the perspective of the universal human condition. In these essays More's voice and personality speak to us from his own literate and humorous prose."—M. Edmund Hussey, Antioch Review

"In his gracefully written Thomas More: The Search for the Inner Man, Louis L. Martz provides a sharply different account of the 'dark side' of More. . . . [He] lays out the case for a more complex, ironic construction of More's texts."—Stanley Stewart, Studies in English Literature

"This little book is a gemstone compressed and crystallized over the thirty years during which Louis L. Martz has served as chairman of the Editorial Board of the Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More."—Terence R. Murphy, History: Reviews of New Books

"Correcting the view of Thomas More as a cold-blooded prosecutor of heresy, Martz here considers the gentle, affectionate, yet upright man pictured in Holbein's family portraits and implicit in More's prose."—Judith Fair, Theological Studies

"Provide[s] a valuable foil to recent tendencies in the interpretation of this enigmatic man and it offers the reader effective guidance in exploring these neglected later works."—Dominic Baker-Smith, Renaissance Studies

"An excellent little book that addresses a crucial and difficult period of More's life as successfully as any discussion yet in print."—Daniel Kinney, Albion

"We need this lovely little book, this exquisite piece of art."—Journal of Psychology and Christianity

"For all who pick it up the volume provides an incomparable reading experience. The reader is permitted to share the deepest and most intimate thoughts of a great man of God as he contemplates his God and his own imminent death."—The American Ecclesiastical Review
ISBN: 9780300001792
Publication Date: September 10, 1969
248 pages, 7 x 10
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