The Festial, most probably composed in the late 1380s by the Augustinian canon, John Mirk, of Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire, was the most popular and influential collection of sermons in English in the late medieval and early Tudor period, surviving in many copies, and printed by Caxton and his successors. The collection was designed to be accessible and entertaining, as well as orthodox, to counter the success of Lollard preaching, and taught both the
priests who used the sermons, as well as their audiences, the fundamentals of the Christian faith and doctrine, illustrated by many stories. The Festial is is the only English sermon collection to be printed in England before the Reformation and is probably the most frequently printed work of its time, before
religious change made it unacceptable.
This new edition, in two volumes with full editorial apparatus, supersedes the incomplete EETS edition by Theodor Erbe (E.S. 96 (1905)). Volume 1 contains the Introduction and the first half of the text; Volume 2 (to be published in 2010) will contain the remainder of the text, Explanatory Notes, and Glossary.
Professor Susan Powell holds the Chair in Medieval Texts and Culture and the University of Salford