Bernard of Clairvaux and the Shape of Monastic Thought: Broken Dreams

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BRILL, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 375 pages
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The work of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) consists of mystical highlights, moments of stylistic beauty and traditional exegetical discourse. In contrast to previous studies this book does not limit itself to the historical and devotional side of Bernard, but brings to the fore his stylistic originality. Bernard emerges as a flexible thinker, a great dramatist and an adroit master of language, who combines the fixed pattern of monastic life with the vicissitudes of extra-mural events.
On the one hand, Bernard's writings are composed according to the rhythm of the uninterrupted ritual of prayer and singing inside the walls of the monastery. On the other hand, that ritual is interspersed with notions of love and death. The present study describes the literary devices through which Bernard shapes the monastic existence as a subtle blend of liturgical routine and uncontrollable events and emotions.
 

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Contents

HISTORY
5
Life as Failure
21
Introduction
47
The Treatise on the Steps
85
Introduction
125
The Sermons
134
The Song of Songs and lovelyric
135
Courtly love and religious prose
138
Suger of St Denis and Bernard of Clairvaux on Art
215
Wildness and precision
222
the Sermons on the Nativity and Abstract Art
233
Sermones in nativitate domini
234
The scene
244
The geometry of Christmas
247
Paradise as verbum abbreviatum
251
Christmas a la hausse
257

the Sermons on the Praise of the Virgin Mother
145
the Sermon on The Nativity of the blessed Virgin
150
Sermon 26
163
Narrative order and disorder
165
Rhetorical order and disorder
167
Monastic order and disorder
180
From dust to dust
201
A WAY OF CELEBRATING
207
Introduction
209
Christmas a la baisse
263
Scherzo
269
Finale
272
Chapter Eight Resurrection
275
Chapter Nine From Resurrection to Pentecost
314
List of Abbreviations
336
Bibliography
370
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

M.B. Pranger is Professor of the History of Christianity, University of Amsterdam.

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