Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Unwanted Advice

There are three advice books which have advice related to leprosy which were written with a direct audience in mind. They are The Knight of La Tour Landry (a French noble writing advice to his three daughters), Peter Idley’s Instructions to his Son (straight forward thanks to the title!), and Book to A Mother (Unknown writer writing to his Mother). Presumably these books contain more targeted advice because they have a specific audience. This does seem to be the case with the knight’s advice. He uses the biblical story of Moses’ sister Marie. Marie is smitten with leprosy because she is jeaous of her brother. Instead of focusing on the pain of the disease or the disfigurement it causes the knight focuses on the fact that Marie is segregated. This is perhaps because the segregation of lepers was more widespread in Medieval France than it was in England, or maybe the Knights daughters were social butterflies and he thought the fear of social exclusion would be more effective than leprosy!
Peter Idley uses leprosy to warn against the sin of lechery, specifically using prostitutes. He tells his son not to have sex with prostitutes because they will have sex with lepers and so have many diseases. This cautionary message seems very apt advice to keep a young man on a more moral path!
The author of Book to A Mother is more concerned with spiritual leprosy. But that shall be a blog for tomorrow!

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