The Gast of Gy: Introduction

THE GAST OF GY, INTRODUCTION: FOOTNOTES


1 See Awntyrs of Arthur in Sir Gawain: Eleven Romances and Tales, ed. Thomas Hahn (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995), pp. 169-226.

2 John Edwin Wells, ed., A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1400, pp. 170-72, and Albert E. Hartung, ed., A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500, 3.698-700.
 
Print Copyright Info Purchase

The Gast of Gy: Introduction

The Gast of Gy puts a human face on the doctrine of Purgatory, not only in the amiable, logical, and patient person of the Gast of Gy himself, who is a purgatorial spirit whom we hear but do not see, but also in the careful and cautious dialogue between the Gast and the Pryor who questions him. That informative, didactic exchange, leavened with several sections that emphasize the human and humane ambience of the poem, is not invigorated with gruesome, pictorial visions of the afterlife designed to terrify the wicked into virtue or frighten us with the fearful details of the punishment that may await sinners even after sins have been confessed and forgiven. Rather, the dialogue, in its concern for the Gast's wife and for the suffering of all souls, presents a rational and compassionate context in which Purgatory emerges as a doctrine of hope rather than of horror. Much of the matter would have been familiar to an audience already fascinated by the torments of Purgatory and consoled by the comfort the doctrine implied in its maintenance of a connection between the living and the dead. They would have heard many other stories of the torments of the dead and would have heard vivid exempla in the preaching of learned if sometimes disingenuous friars, and in the sermons of their parish priests who relied on the teachings of their more learned colleagues. Besides its terrifying fire-and-brimstone side, Purgatory offers a comforting note, a theory of hope revisited both for the living and for their departed loved ones. The Gast of Gy shows an awareness of post-mortem tortures, but concentrates its logic and feeling on a more reassuring doctrine, namely the comfort that spiritual reciprocity between the living and the dead can provide.

The Gast of Gy was enormously popular, partly because of its morbidity, partly because of its consolation, and partly because of its historicity. Based roughly on De Spiritu Guidonis, a first-person account by the Dominican Jean Gobi of his experiences with the spirit of Gy in the Southern French town of Alés, or Alais, from late December 1323 to 12 January 1324, the poem reports strange events. There is controversy about who wrote the original account in Latin; although there does seem to have been a Dominican named Jean Gobi in Alés in the 1320s, and he does identify himself in the original account, there is no evidence that he was a prior. Johannes de Fordun (d. c. 1384), in his Scotichronicon, claims to have a letter from Gobi to Pope John XXII explaining the events, but the circumstances are by no means clear. There does exist a letter, sent in 1327 from John de Rosse, later bishop of Carlisle, to Walter Reynolds, bishop of Worcester and later archbishop of Canterbury, attesting to the events. Certainly by the early 1330s, there was a longer, more detailed account in Latin in the third person, which does not mention Gobi by name, but likely was presented to John XXII as a correction to the pope's semi-heretical flirtation with the idea that souls began neither purgation nor salvation until the Last Judgment. It is probably from this extended version that the narrative exploded into the popularity it enjoyed during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. If one includes several fragments, there are extant at least sixty versions of the narrative: thirty-six Latin, nine English, six French, four German, and one each in Italian, Swedish, Irish, Welsh, and Spanish. The popularity was undoubtedly widespread. The English versions include two in four-stress couplets, three in quatrains, three in prose, and a five-stress couplet printed fragment. The present edition is based on the better preserved of the four-stress couplet versions, written in the mid-fourteenth century in a Northern, probably Yorkshire, dialect and preserved in Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson Poet. 175. All of the versions long enough to provide evidence agree on the basic elements of the story, although one English prose version mistakenly states the year as 1333, and both of the four-stress English couplet versions identify Alés (Alexty in the Middle English) as thirty miles from Bayonne. This is clearly erroneous, probably influenced by an early Italian version that located the events near Bologna, thus the error. All other versions print some form of Avignon, a much more likely location since it is indeed about thirty miles from Alés and was the seat of John XXII's papacy during the so-called "Babylonian Captivity" (1309-1417).

The story is a simple narrative even if its theological issues and implications are complex. On 20 November 1323, Gy, a citizen of Alés, dies. Eight days later, strange noises in his home begin to terrify his wife, who, fearing either a demonic spirit or perhaps a malevolent Gy, seeks help from the Dominican convent on 27 December, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. After proper preparations and precautions, the Dominican Pryor goes to Gy's house and engages in an extensive conversation with the disembodied spirit of Gy. The conversation elucidates fourteenth-century, especially Dominican, views on Purgatory. The Pryor, much enlightened by the Gast and assured that the Gast will enter Heaven at Easter, leaves and then returns with a larger clerical entourage on the Feast of the Epiphany for another shorter but significant conversation. The poem then concludes with a report that representatives of the pope visited Gy's house at Easter, found no sign of him, and concluded that the Gast had indeed gone to Heaven. The fascination and joy in the poem itself are in the enlightened nature of the dialogue between the Gast and the Pryor, in the elucidation of many features of purgatorial doctrine whose terrors are more than overcome by its consolations, in its gentle but clear moral advice to the living, and perhaps most importantly, in the humane ambience and human context in which the conversation occurs.

The narrative belongs to the genre of the "ghost story," a popular form of moral instruction, in which a spirit returns to guide the living or to seek help for himself. It is to be distinguished from the even more popular "vision literature," which appeared in early Christian times and flourished from the late twelfth through the fifteenth centuries, and in which the "visionary" sees, often quite vividly, or visits the terrifying sights of purgatorial punishment. The Gast of Gy offers no visit to the horrific worlds of Purgatory or Hell and no graphic representations of the sufferings of the damned or of souls undergoing purgation. Gy rather belongs to the tradition of narratives in which spirits return temporarily to this world for their own benefit or to give salutary advice.

The early Church had resisted and discouraged such stories and ideas as superstitious or perhaps even demonic in origin. There is a long tradition dating from classical antiquity of damned souls returning for their own purposes; but early Christian commentators discouraged belief in visitors from the next world. St. Augustine (354-430) rejected the possibility of purgatorial spirits returning to earth for any reason, arguing in De Cura pro Mortuis, that a "spiritual image" could appear, but not a truly ghostly visitor. There persisted, however, a clerical tradition that there was a distinction between good and bad ghosts, and there was continuing speculation about whether the saved could reappear to help or whether the damned could reappear to beguile or torment. Thus, despite official discouragement by many theologians, ideas of the malevolent damned and the beneficent saved would not entirely disappear. As early as Sulpicius Severus' Life of St. Martin (c. 420), Martin is reported to have dispelled the spirit of a robber around whom a cult had developed.

Although a history of such accounts is quite beyond the scope of an introduction to The Gast of Gy, some landmarks may be noted. St. Gregory the Great, in his influential Dialogi (593-94), which provided a source of purgatorial exempla for centuries of preachers to come, recounts the story of Geronimus, bishop of Capua, who came upon the spirit of the deceased deacon Paschanius doing penance in the Roman baths at Angulus where Paschanius had committed an unnamed sin. In a few days the prayers of Geronimus deliver Paschanius from his purgatorial duties in the baths. The story establishes, with the eminent authority of St. Gregory, that souls from Purgatory may not only return to earth but also, at least in some cases, be sent to the scene of their sin as a part of their punishment. A few centuries after Gregory, from about the ninth century, there appeared, mostly in monastic circles, stories in which the doctrine of suffrages, the idea that prayers, masses, and almsgiving done or provided by the living could help the dead, is emphasized in narrative examples. It is not, however, until the eleventh and twelfth centuries, that period of renewed interest in Purgatory, that narratives of visits from the dead became more common in the works of chroniclers and clerics such as William of Malmesbury (1096-1142), Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100-1155), Walter Map (c. 1140-1208), Giraldus Cambrensis (c. 1146-1220), and Gervase of Tilbury (d. c. 1235).

In the Trental of St. Gregory, Pope Gregory's disfigured mother appears to him during Mass and admits that she killed an illegitimate child and was embarrassed to confess such a heinous sin. That she should even be in Purgatory is generous, but, after saying a cycle of thirty masses, Gregory sees her beautified and beatified. The value of suffrages is clear and prominent in the especially influential story of "The Ghost of Beaucaire" recounted by Gervase of Tilbury. A dissolute young man is exiled and dies in a brawl. After first appearing to an eleven-year-old virgin, he is questioned by others, including the prior of Terascon, between July and September 1211. The ghost explains that after death good and bad angels fight over the soul; after a period of wandering, souls go to Purgatory and gradually progress to the Beatific Vision. The geography is fuzzy, but it is significant that suffrages help the souls along the way. The form is that of a rigid interrogation and, although much is said of Purgatory, the story lacks the theological complexity, human ambience, and charitable disposition of The Gast of Gy, though it contains an abundance of controversial details.

Such narratives were disseminated by mendicant preachers and often used as exempla in admonitory sermons, especially by Dominicans, but also in the Sunday sermons of less well-educated parsons. The idea even appears in secular literature in the appearance of Guenevere's mother from a purgatorial place in The Awntyrs of Arthur.1 Debates abounded and accounts proliferated from the late eleventh century on.

Enter The Gast of Gy, now a mid-fourteenth-century version in English. Although most earlier ghost stories had appeared in the form of the "tractatus" or "chronicle," The Gast of Gy is a work of imaginative literature as well as a presentation of purportedly authoritative doctrine. In Wells' Manual of the Writings in Middle English, the poem had been listed under "Tales"; Francis Lee Utley in Severs and Hartung's revision of the Manual includes the poem under "Dialogues, Debates, and Catechisms" and asserts that it is of "no great merit in style or structure," though perhaps deserving of attention for theological and historical reasons.2 I would suggest, however, that it is precisely its merit as imaginative literature that sets Gy apart and accounts for its extraordinary popularity in the vernacular in its own time. In the Middle English couplet version, Gy emerges as more than a report or exemplum or even an interrogation in the manner of "The Ghost of Beaucaire." It offers fascinating insights into the workings of the world.

Certainly The Gast of Gy conveys much of the information of a "tract," providing opinions on many topics of debate. It is, thus, on one level, an exposition of the whole discourse on Purgatory: Purgatory is a place, not just a state; purgatorial pain is by purifying fire; there is a Particular Judgment shortly after death when the soul is assigned its fate and proceeds to experience it; souls are privy to what happens on earth, at least in part, but have no special knowledge of Heaven or Hell; there is a dual Purgatory - a "common" Purgatory beneath the earth and a "departable" Purgatory, one set apart for a particular person, where the soul suffers at the place of the sin; souls not only know that they will eventually complete their sufferings and go to Heaven, they even know when; the sentence can be commuted by God after death; suffrages, and this is the dominant theological point of the poem, benefit the dead; nevertheless, repentance in this world is much to be preferred to purgation in the next. This catalogue may seem benign, but most points were subjects of acrimonious debate from the time of the efflorescence of the doctrine of Purgatory in the late twelfth century to the time of Gy and well beyond to the Sessions of the Council of Trent (1545-63), despite repeated attempts to settle some of the issues even at the Second Council of Lyons (1274) and the Council of Florence (1438-45).

The Gast of Gy, however, deserves our attention as more than a catalogue of disputes about Purgatory. As imaginative fiction, it is structured around the dialogue between the Gast and the Pryor, a searching interlocutor who engages the Gast in discussion for his own benefit and for the benefit of the reader. The Pryor is neither the grim inquisitor that some would have him, nor an ignorant buffoon in serious need of basic instruction. Thus, it is hard to agree with those who would see his role as a satire on the ignorance of the clergy. Rather, the Pryor is a patient questioner, always careful, as he should be, about whether the Gast is demonic or benign, as he indicates in his first question: "Whether ertow ane ill gast or a gud?" (line 235). He is an honest searcher for precise truth with regard to hard questions. The literary interlocutor, as with the narrator in Pearl or Chaucer's Book of the Duchess, must, as part of his role, seem to be ignorant or unsure concerning important matters, but genuinely interested in the discovery of the truth from a reliable source. Indeed, his persistent curiosity redounds within the fiction of the poem to the credit of the Dominicans, the main interpreters of Purgatory to the later Middle Ages. Therefore, as a tract, as well as a work of literature, The Gast of Gy gives the Pryor the opportunity to evoke a doctrine of Purgatory that appears authoritative without being coercive. The popularity of the poem in an age when Chaucer could make his Tale of Melibee a kind of centerpiece of The Canterbury Tales should not be surprising. Edification, generously and humanely presented, was a source of literary as well as moral pleasure. The appeal of the poem, however, goes beyond edification by truths of theology to the attraction of a story made richer, fuller, and more humane by a ghost who is logical, articulate, patient, and sympathetic.

Despite the fact that most of the poem is in the form of questions and answers, it is hard to characterize The Gast of Gy as a debate (the Gast is by definitive experience the best authority, always right), or a dialogue (the development is too catechetic), or a catechism (too much else is going on in the poem). The poem has a narrative energy and a human sympathy that place the conversation in a literary context that not only elucidates doctrine but is a generous representation of the human condition. It is not poetically spectacular: the couplets are efficient, often graceful, but they serve more to expedite the narrative rather than as literary ornaments. Nor does it rely on vividly gruesome images of the suffering souls. It appeals, in its competent verse form, as a clear and rational exposition of matters of profound importance. To this end, the poem is careful to establish its authenticity, by precise dating, locating, and description of ambient circumstances. It is, however, in its tone and context that Gy rises above simple exposition.

The questioning is relentless and systematic, but it is inquisitive rather than inquisitory. It is appropriate that the Pryor be quite careful to determine that he is speaking to a genuine and reliable soul rather than to a demonic deceiver. The conversation itself is civil, intelligent, and rational. That the Pryor should repeatedly begin his queries with an assertion to the effect that the Gast has given himself away as ignorant or untruthful is not contentious. For example, the Pryor says: "Thou says noght right, and here now whi" (line 252) and "Me think thou ert noght stabill, / Bot thou ert fals and desayvabill, / And in this matere makes thou lyes. / That may I prove thee on this wyse" (lines 443-46). (There are many comparable examples.) The Pryor's objections are not offensive, but cautious and presented with some rational justification, not confrontation. The Gast of Gy is calm, patient, and civil in his responses. There is a dignity in their dialogue. The bulk of the poem is composed of over fifty such exchanges (more if you count minor forays within the main inquiries), and, if they are not arranged in a systematically climactic way, they proceed with the sequential logic of serious conversation.

Thus, it is in context, character, and tone that The Gast of Gy achieves its success. The Pryor initially takes on the encounter with the Gast not out of ecclesiastical self-importance but out of concern for the condition of Gy's distressed wife, who seeks his assistance. The Pryor is prudent in the way he accepts his mission. He first consults the chapter of friars, because:
. . . sykerer may it so be tane
Than of a man bi him allane. (lines 101-02)
more certainly; accepted
by himself alone
He is accompanied by two learned masters, one of theology and the other of philosophy. He alerts the mayor to his enterprise and secures the accompaniment of two hundred men as witnesses or as protectors in case of trouble (though it is difficult to see what good the men might do if the spirit is infernal). All are shriven and receive the Eucharist before proceeding. The Pryor enters Gy's home with rituals appropriate to the undertaking: he uses both liturgical forms for the sprinkling of holy water and a full recitation of the Office of the Dead. It is in response to these prayers that we first hear the Gast as he utters a feeble "Amen" (line 208). The questions that the Pryor then raises, neither stupid nor confrontational, as we have seen, are parallel to the questions raised and discussed by the students of the greatest of the Dominicans, Thomas Aquinas, in the Supplementum to the Summa theologiae, such as whether suffrages for individuals benefit all souls in Purgatory and, conversely, what good suffrages for All Souls do for the individual. The Gast's answers to the questions reflect sound Thomism: a Requiem for Gy benefits all, and prayers on behalf of all benefit Gy. The Pryor and the Gast range over many issues, some of them without sure grounding, e.g., the idea of a dual Purgatory, the knowledge of the soul of the time of his release, and the "grace period" for two hours after death during which prayers, like those of Gy's friar friend, are especially helpful. However, it is the question of suffrages that is central and most prominent in the Pryor's examination and the Gast's expositions: what prayers and observances are most efficacious for the dead. This primary issue is extensively explained by the Gast in his witnessing that a Requiem Mass, a Mass of the Holy Spirit, or a Marian Mass, is of great benefit, but that the Office of the Dead, based as it is on the scriptural Psalms, and almsgiving, because it is a fundamental manifestation of Christian charity, are also of inestimable value.

Despite the fact that the underlying form of the poem is largely a series of exchanges between the Pryor and the Gast, the poem does not degenerate into a list. Even after the long introduction (lines 1-205), which establishes the historicity of the events, the Pryor's concerned responses to the suffering of Gy's wife, and his care in making proper preparations in the event that he will be dealing with a demon, the poem is modulated by variation in the length of the Gast's responses. For example, he gives a comprehensive answer (lines 599-766) to the Pryor's question about what helps souls most. The Gast's answer is long, but entirely appropriate to the poem's primary concern with the doctrine of suffrages. He attributes the greatest, indeed essential, assistance to the Incarnation of Christ, which allows for the Redemption without which no soul could achieve salvation. Second, the Gast asserts the importance of the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, entirely appropriate to her special place as the mother of Christ and a sympathetic view because of the special devotion of the Dominicans to Mary. Indeed, the Gast quotes Mary at some length in a speech that validates her power by her assertion that she is "empress of Hell," a clever play on the more familiar epithet of "Regina Coeli" (Queen of Heaven). Third, the Gast explains that the intercession of the saints and the suffrages of the living are also beneficial.

Shortly thereafter, the Gast says that, of all suffrages, the Mass of the Holy Spirit is most helpful. In response the Pryor makes a somewhat contentious defense of the efficacy of the Requiem Mass he had said that morning:
. . . I se, thou ert noght trew.
Of Requiem I sang, certaine,
For Cristen saules, that er in payne.
Tharfor thou says noght sothfastly. (lines 812-15)
The Gast's lengthy response (lines 817-997) allows the spirit to expatiate not only on the special importance of the Mass of the Holy Spirit, but also the Marian Mass, and other suffrages provided by both clergy and laity. The concentration on suffrages is directly pertinent and the length of the answer loosens the rhythm of the developing exchanges. Likewise, the Gast's exposition (lines 1098-1208) on the importance of the Office of the Dead, mollifies the Pryor, endorses the power of scriptural prayer (the Office is primarily based on Psalms), and reinforces yet again the help that the living can provide for the suffering souls. This section may seem tedious to a modern audience, and it certainly is repetitious, but it is both pertinent as doctrine and clever in the way that the Gast plays with the symbolic significance of the numbers of Psalms in various parts of the Office of the Dead.

It is not only in these variations in the rhythm of the exchanges, however, that the poem transcends the dangers of formal rigidity. There are, for example, small instances like the insertion, immediately after the Gast first says he will enter Heaven at Easter, of the comment that the Pryor later checked and found the statement to be true (lines 998-1001). Even more consonant with the generosity of spirit in the poem is the concerned hiatus at lines 1212-38, when the Gast says that the Pryor should hurry because his pain is increasing. The response is more than fear that the Pryor will lose his knowledgeable witness. The surrounding company, at the Gast's direction, quickly recite the prayers, probably the joyful mysteries of the rosary, a devotion much promoted by the Dominicans, and the prayers immediately provide temporary relief for Gy. The tone is more sympathetic than expedient and is a small but direct suggestion of how the living can improve the condition of purgatorial souls.

However, the most important demonstration of the magnanimous tone of the poem comes in lines 1355-1511, where attention is turned to the distress of Gy's wife and the importance of marital love and mutuality. After a long description of the suffering of Gy's wife, the Pryor asks the Gast why she mourns so. The Gast's response is a chivalrous suggestion that the Pryor ask her directly. But she will not, or cannot, respond. The Pryor then asks the Gast again, and he once more directs him to his wife:
Ask hirself, scho kan thee say. (line 1404)
The Gast is not evading the issue; rather, he is refusing to invade his wife's spiritual privacy, as later events make clear. So the Pryor tries the Gast again, and the Gast responds only with a broad statement that there are many sins that can be committed between husband and wife. Some commentators have suggested that Gy and his wife are guilty of infanticide, but this seems extreme in view of the tone of the narrative. More likely, it was one of the sexual behaviors proscribed by the Church even between husband and wife, perhaps simply the enjoyment of sex without the primary purpose of procreation. This is highly speculative, but fits the love and mutuality the poem implies. The Gast makes quite clear that it is not the business of the Pryor to inquire into the precise nature of a sin that has already been forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance (lines 1438-46). Repentance and satisfaction must be made, but the confidential "seal of Confession" need not be broken even by the penitent, and the dignity and privacy of the repentant deserve to be respected, another doctrinally orthodox and humanly compassionate insistence that is congruent with the tone of the poem. At this point, however, the Gast's wife, no longer able to restrain herself, asks the Gast the main question:
Gud Gy, for luf of me,
Say if I sall saved be
Or I sall dwell in dole ever mare
For that syn that thou nevend are,
Wharof, I wate, God was noght payd. (lines 1467-71)


sorrow
mentioned before
know; requited
The Gast assures her, though the orthodoxy of his certainty is debatable, that she will be saved if she will give alms in satisfaction for her sin. The best way to avoid Purgatory is, of course, to repent and make amends in this life, but the Gast reinforces the doctrine of suffrages by asking her to remember him in her penitential actions. The doctrine is sound and the mutual love is attractive.

The Pryor cannot help but ask why the Gast did not come directly to the clergy to make his revelation to his wife, because the clergy are closer to God than any woman. The Gast's answer is movingly appropriate to the tone of the scene:
. . . I lufed mare my wyfe
Than any other man on lyfe,
And tharfor first to hir I went. (lines 1497-99)
loved more
alive
 
The questioning resumes at this point, but the scene has formidably given doctrine a powerful human form, and the egalitarian character of the poem is again reinforced by the Gast's statement (lines 1676-82) that no estate or "degree" is preferred over another in this world. And shortly afterwards (lines 1865 ff.) the sympathetic, if stern, Pryor adjures the Gast to cease haunting. The Gast, returning to the doctrine of suffrages fundamental to the poem, appropriately replies that he will comply if his wife lives in chaste widowhood and has three hundred masses said "for us twa" (line 1873). She quickly agrees to do so and the Pryor adds that he will say Mass for her and Gy every day until Easter. The Gast goes away and the Pryor is satisfied.<

That his wife is still not easy in her mind is evidenced in her fear to return to her house and her eventual return to the convent for help and assurance at the Epiphany, which results in the much shorter second visit to Gy's house and the culmination of the poem. The Pryor brings with them twenty friars plus a number of parish priests. That the friars include Augustinians and Franciscans suggests that the Pryor intends not only to provide solace for the wife, but also authentication of the events by including clergy beyond the Dominicans. When the Pryor conjures up the Gast again, one of the friars is even allowed to ask some questions. This scene is, however, not so interrogatory as the rest of the poem. After a few questions about Gy's suffering and what they can do to help him at this stage, the Pryor intrudes one of his few "trick" questions, if that is what it is. He asks the Gast for a "mervaile" (line 2007), something that defies the ordinary laws of Nature, so as to persuade the pope of the veracity of the Pryor's account of his experience. The Gast, properly, says he knows no marvels and proceeds to present a strong admonition to the clergy to do better in preaching the doctrine of Purgatory and repentance. This, after all, is why the Gast was allowed to return. True, the primary warning is to his wife and by extension to all of the faithful, but here he focuses on the deficiencies of the clergy and urges them to do better. Consonant with the spirit of the poem, the Gast's indictment is not a diatribe. It is vigorous and pointed and predicts vengeance if there is not reform, but it is tempered with the magnanimity that pervades the poem.

The Pryor tries again to elicit some authenticating information from the Gast by asking how many popes there will be before Doomsday. Earlier, during the first visit, the Pryor had attempted something similar in asking the Gast when the Antichrist would come. But the Gast again refuses to do magic tricks; he does not know the future. Instead he returns to his admonition to the clergy to revive the vigor of the past in preaching and prayer concerning the dead, lest they suffer divine punishment. And then the Gast is gone to continue the suffering that will result in his salvation at Easter, that appropriate season of the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. All report the events to the pope, who, perhaps somewhat improbably, sends a delegation to confirm the Gast's disappearance and assumed salvation. They are satisfied and the instructive, magnanimous, compassionate story of the Gast of Gy concludes.


Go To The Gast of Gy
Bibliography
Select Bibliography

Manuscripts

Bodleian Library MS Rawlinson Poet. 175 (SC 14667), fols. 96r-108v. [c. 1350]

British Library MS Cotton Tiberius E. vii, fols. 90r-101r. [c. 1325-50]


Editions

Horstmann, Carl, ed. Yorkshire Writers: Richard Rolle of Hampole, an English Father of the Church, and his Followers. Library of Early English Writers 2. London: S. Sonnenschein and Co., 1895-96. Vol. 2, pp. 292-333.

Schleich, Gustav, ed. The Gast of Gy: Eine englische Dichtung des 14. Jahrhunderts nebst ihrer lateinischen Quelle De spiritu Guidonis. Palaestra 1. Berlin: Mayer and Müller, 1898.


Commentary

Bowers, R. H. The Gast of Gy: A Middle-English Religious Prose Tract Preserved in Queen's College, Oxford, MS. 383. Beiträge zur englischen Philologie 32. Leipzig: B. Tauchnitz, 1938.

Eleazer, Ed. "The Gast of Gy: An Edition of the Quatrain Version with Critical Commentary." Ph.D. Dissertation: Florida State University, 1984. DAI 45.9A (1985), p. 2868A.

Gobi, Jean. Dialogue avec un Fantôme. Trans. Marie-Anne Polo de Beaulieu. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994.

Greenblatt, Stephen. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. [Paperback rpt. 2002.]

Hartung, Albert E., ed. A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500. Vol. 3. New Haven, CT: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1972. Pp. 698-700.

Kaluza, Max. Rev. of The Gast of Gy, ed. Gustav Schleich. Literaturblatt für germanische und romanische Philologie 10 (1900), 330-34.

Schmitt, Jean-Claude. Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society. Trans. Teresa L. Fagan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Wells, John Edwin, ed. A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1400. New Haven, CT: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1916. Pp. 170-72.