Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint
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 Francis's 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 Francis's 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.
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Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval SaintUser Review - Book Verdict
This new biography by Vauchez (professor emeritus, Univ. of Paris X; Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages), a specialist in the religious movements of the Middle Ages, was published in France in 2010, and is now translated for English readers. It's a study of the popular saint that places Francis in the context of the religious movements of his time, with a study of his image and influence up to the 20th century, and a candid examination of the controversies among the followers of Francis that began even before his death. Vauchez's volume complements Augustine Thompson's recent Francis of Assisi: A New Biography. Both begin with a biography based on the verifiable sources. Vauchez then examines the myths, many of which undergird a particular image of Francis, and concludes with a study of Francis's originality. Thompson's work has a detailed study of the sources and the secondary literature. The primary documents both writers have used are available in English in the three-volume Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. VERDICT Admirers of Francis of Assisi (and there are many) will appreciate this solid piece of scholarship which is admiring, but certainly not fawning.—Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ
Review: Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval SaintUser Review - Mark Bruce - Goodreads
Scholarly view of the Poor Man of Assissi's life. And yes, it's just as dull as it sounds. Weird, because Francis us a man for our time, a protestor against the corrosive power of wealth, an advocate ... Read full review