Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England)

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9780521093071: Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England)
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The cult of saints was one of the most important aspects of life in the Middle Ages, and it often formed the nucleus of developing group identities in a town, a province or a country. The literature of Anglo-Saxon England is unique among contemporary European literatures in that it features a vast amount of saints' Lives in the vernacular. Of these Lives, Ælfric is the most important author, and his saints' Lives have never previously been explored in their contemporary setting. In this study, Gretsch analyses Ælfric's Lives of five important saints in the light of their cults in Anglo-Saxon England. This gives the reader fascinating glimpses of 'Ælfric at work': he adapts the cults and rewrites the received Latin hagiography of the five saints, with the result that each of their English Lives conveys a distinct message to the contemporary political elite and to a lay audience at large.

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Review:

From the hard back review: 'This saintly biographer wrote with a purpose ... Gretsch has done much to show in detail how a refashioning of images of holiness engaged the creative talents of one of the most important vernacular writers of the early Middle Ages.' Church Times

From the hardback review: 'Among the many strengths of this carefully written monograph are Gretsch's efforts to contextualise Aelfric's adaptations of his sources in relation to the English Benedictine reform movement, led by Bishop Aethelwold during the reign of King Edgar, and the military crisis of the reign of Aethelred ... it provides a rightly informative and insightful introduction to Aelfric's hagiographic oeuvre and his methods of composition, and will surely constitute an important model for further work on this prolific early medieval author.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

From the hardback review: '... this is a wide-ranging and fascinating study, adding significantly to our understanding of Aelfric's achievement, and also, on the way, to his context within the Benedictine Reform of the later tenth century.' The Glass

'Gretsch's study of AElfric and the cult of saints offers a fascinating insight not only into AElfric's technique as a hagiographer, but also his place in the development and evolution of saints' cults and attendant hagiographies in Anglo-Saxon England. While this book is certainly concerned with AElfric, it is concerned with much more.' Medium Aevum

Book Description:

The cult of saints was one of the most important aspects of life in the Middle Ages, and it often formed the nucleus of developing group identities in a town, a province or a country. This book examines five of Ælfric's saints' Lives in their contemporary political and intellectual setting.

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9780521855419: Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England)

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ISBN 10:  0521855411 ISBN 13:  9780521855419
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