Twelve papers presented by Michael Wilks between 1965 and his death in 1999, two of which are published here for the first time.
Wilks' research into Wyclif and 14th-century England was very much rooted in Wyclif's own prolific writings, a perspective that differed from the more traditional Reformation viewpoint. The papers trace Wyclif's early history in northern England and Oxford and ask why the established and favoured civil servant turned against Edward III and Richard II and died a traitor and heretic.
Wilks' detailed analysis of Wyclif's Latin texts, with numerous extracts and copious notes, presents Wyclif's demands for reform and his determined campaign against the church and the religious orders.
Wyclif's name was inevitably linked with the Peasants' Revolt, even though it attacked his patron and former defender John of Gaunt, but even in exile he continued his fight with attacks on both the Schism popes.
The essays are the result of 35 years of evolving ideas and opinions but all reflect the great learning and energy of Wilks' scholarship.