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The origin and text of The Book of Common Prayer

Despite its controversial history, the Book of Common Prayer is an influential religious text and one of the most compelling works of English literature. How has this document retained its relevancy even after numerous revisions? What can it teach us about British history and the English language? We spoke with Brian Cummings, editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of The Book of Common Prayer, about the importance of this text.

Why did you want release a new edition of this book?

How did you choose the three texts used in your edition?

Why is the text considered a part of literature?

Can you tell us about the origins of the book?

How was the book incorporated into daily life?

How has the book influenced literature and language?

Brian Cummings received his BA at Cambridge University, where he also took his PhD under the supervision of the poet Geoffrey Hill and the church historian Eamon Duffy. He was previously a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge before moving to Sussex, and, from October 2012, the University of York. He was a British Academy Exchange Fellow at the Huntington Library, California, in 2007 and held a three-year Major Research Fellowship with the Leverhulme Trust from 2009 to 2012. He is the editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of The Book of Common Prayer.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics onTwitterFacebook, and the OUPblog.

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