New York: Sheed and Ward, 1951. First edition. Original red cloth (7 5/8 iches tall), original dust jacket. Tape repair to verso ends of mildly toned spine. A nearly-fine copy. Item #1192
"THE FIRST AND THE LAST THING THAT CHAUCER WROTE WAS PRAYER. IT FINDS ITS PROPER PLACE IN WORKS BETWEEN"
First edition of Sister Madeleva's essays on Geoffrey Chaucer—a fine introduction to England's first, and greatest, narrative poet.
Sister Madeleva Wolf, a sister of the Holy Cross and longtime president of St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame University, was an American nun known as "a poet, a humanist scholar, a woman of letters" (Ann Braude). "The Roman Catholic sisterhood of this time sustained a significant number of productive scholars, but they were mostly in the fields of history and humanities. Most of them were teaching under crushing class loads, moreover, and had little time for research and writing" (Kevin Starr). Sister Madeleva was instrumental in establishing the first doctorate of sacred theology program open to women in the Catholic Church. "She was the first one who not only had the belief that women could be Catholic theologians, but she put it into practice. That was the beginning of opening the doors today to a huge lay population of women theologians in the Catholic Church" (Braude). Her book on Chaucer consisted of seven essays, preceded by a brief Author's Note consists of I. A Lost Language, II. Chaucer's Nuns, III. The Cleansing of Man's Soul, IV. A Child's Book of Stars, V. The Chaucer Canon, VI. O Yonge, Fresh Folkes, VII. First Things and Last. This copy was warmly inscribed for presentation: "To Our Beloved Mary Ethel / This FIRST copy of A Lost Language / With a world of St. Mary's love / from Katherine Ryan Brennan and Sister M. Madeleva / The Solemnity of St. Joseph 1951." There is no index but a brief ("partial") Glossary provides definitions for some of the more obscure words. Jacket design by Bert Clarke, reproducing a illustration by Edward Burne-Jones from the Kelmscott Chaucer. Approbations.