Genres covered by the corpus

In representing the genres of the religious domain, emphasis will be placed on genres of religious prose. However, verse texts will be included in situations where prose is not available (e.g. in fourteenth century religious biographies) or where conventions of a whole genre of eminent importance require the inclusion of rhyme and verse in the corpus (e.g. in hymns). All verse texts and passages in verse within texts are coded. Even though verse material abounds in Middle English religious writing and both prose and verse texts may be found in the corpus alongside each other occasionally, we do not claim to represent verse texts in any manner which would allow for comparative studies, our focus strictly being on religious prose.

Genres are classified as core, minor and associated genres, all of which may be divided into subgenres. Core genres are genuinely religious genres, i.e. they originate and are firmly rooted in the religious domain (e.g. sermons and private prayers). Minor genres are similarly rooted in the religious domain. However, they are more restricted in terms of institutions and potential text users (e.g. monastic rules). Associated genres are genres which originally exist outside the religious domain and are not genuinely religious in their nature but become associated with religious writing at a particular point in time (e.g pamphlets and prefaces). Subgenres are subforms of a genre, such as doctrinal or controversial treatises as subforms of religious treatises. A certain fuzziness of these categories seems inevitable; religious biographies, for example, can be seen as both a core and an associated genre.

Core genres Minor genres Associated genres
  • sermons
  • treatises (doctrinal~, exegetical~, contemplative~, controversial)
  • catechisms
  • prayers
  • religious biographies
  • hymns
  • monastic rules
  • penitentials
  • exegetical commentaries
  • pamphlets (letter~, petition~, sermon~, treatise~)
  • prefaces
  • religious letters
  • religious articles in newspapers