Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Seiler

Second Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Third Advisor

Dr. Clifford Davidson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The Pistill of Swete Susan is an alliterative poem written in the fourteenth century by an unknown English author. Although the original manuscript has been lost, the poem is known to scholars through five extant manuscripts. The various manuscripts have been examined textually, but the poem itself has not been examined critically. The story is based on an Apocryphal text, the History of Susanna. While borrowing heavily from this text, the author has produced a work which is medieval in context and which provides insight into medieval concepts of justice, evil and love. This paper presents a translation and critical analysis based on the MS. Phillipps. It concludes with a discussion of authorship and the theory that the author may have been a member of the Franciscan order.