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12. The Writings of Catherine of Siena: The Manuscript Tradition

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Chapter Summary

The extant works of Catherine of Siena, the Dialogo, a collection of 26 prayers (the Orazioni) and nearly 400 letters (the Epistole) - have survived because of the wish she expressed to her confessor Raymond of Capua and to her disciples, as she was nearing death, that they do with her works whatever they thought would most honor God. While Catherine's letters are the better window to her personality, growth, and personal relationships, the Dialogo has long been considered her crowning work, her bequest of her teaching to her followers. The rich manuscript tradition of Catherine's works, along with the multiplicity of printed editions and translations which have followed, attests to the significance of her place not only in religious history but in the history of Italy and its literature as well. Her works are among the earliest to have been disseminated, and among the first printed, in the Italian vernacular.

Keywords:Catherine of Siena; Dialogo; Epistole; manuscript tradition; Orazioni; Raymond of Capua

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