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Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saintby Andre Vauchez
Synopses & Reviews
In this towering work, André Vauchez draws on the vast body of scholarship on Francis of Assisi produced over the past forty years as well on as his own expertise in medieval hagiography to tell the most comprehensive and authoritative version of Franciss life and afterlife published in the past half century.
After a detailed and yet engaging reconstruction of Francis's life and work, Vauchez focuses on the myriad texts—hagiographies, chronicles, sermons, personal testimonies, etc.—of writers who recorded aspects of Francis's life and movement as they remembered them, and used those remembrances to construct a portrait of Francis relevant to their concerns. We see varying versions of his life reflected in the work of Machiavelli, Luther, Voltaire, German and English romantics, pre-Raphaelites, Italian nationalists, and Mussolini, and discover how peace activists, ecologists, or interreligious dialogists have used his example to promote their various causes. Particularly noteworthy is the attention Vauchez pays to Franciss own writings, which strangely enough have been largely overlooked by later interpreters.
The product of a lifetime of study, this book reveals a historian at the height of his powers.
The most insightful and authoritative biography of Francis of Assisi in decades, by a preeminent scholar of medieval saints and sainthood
First published in France, where it was awarded the Prix Chateaubriand, this masterful new biography of Francis is now available in English
The most authoritative biography of Francis of Assisi in more than a generation, this book brings the medieval saint to life and explores the abundance of writings by contemporaries who set down their memories of him.
In this towering work, André Vauchez draws on the vast body of scholarship on Francis of Assisi, emphasizing in particular the important research of the last 30 years. He creates a complete and engaging portrait of the saint, then explores how the memory of Francis was shaped by contemporaries who recollected him in their writings. Vauchez completes the book by setting "Poverello" in the context of his time, bringing to light what was new, surprising, and even astonishing in the life and vision of this man.
The first part of the book is a fascinating reconstruction of Francis's life and work. The second and third parts deal with the myriad texts—hagiographies, chronicles, sermons, personal testimonies, etc.—of writers who recorded aspects of Francis's life and movement as they remembered them, and used those remembrances to construct a portrait of Francis relevant to their concerns. In the final part of the book, Vauchez explores those aspects of Francis's life, personality, and spiritual vision that were unique to him, including his experience of God, his approach to nature, his understanding and use of Scripture, and his impact on culture as well as culture's impact on him.
About the Author
André Vauchez is professor emeritus, University of Paris X, and a leading expert on religious movements, saints, and the dynamics of the Middle Ages. He lives in France. Michael Cusato, O.F.M., is former director of the Franciscan Institute and currently teaches at the Dominican House of Studies. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Biography » Religious