Saint and the Count: A Case Study for Reading like a Historian

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University of Toronto Press, Apr 19, 2021 - Christian hagiography - 216 pages

While historians know that history is about interpreting primary sources, students tend to think of history as a set of facts.

In The Saint and the Count, Leah Shopkow opens up the interpretive world of the historian using the biography of St. Vitalis of Savigny (d. 1122) as a case study. This biography was written around 1174 by Stephen of Foug?res and provides a rich stage to demonstrate the kinds of questions historians ask about primary sources and the interpretive and conceptual frameworks they use. What is the nature of medieval sources and what are the interpretive problems they present? How does the positionality of Stephen of Foug?res shape his biography of St. Vitalis? How did medieval people respond to stories of miracles? And finally, how does this biography illuminate the problem of violence in medieval society? A translation of the biography is included, so that readers can explore the text on their own.

 

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Contents

Introduction We Should Not Pass Over in Silence
1
St Vitalis in the Historical and Hagiographic Record
7
The Author Stephen of Fougères
31
Hagiography and Genre
59
Miracles and Doubt
77
Hagiography and the Problem of Violence
95
So that my words may not bore the reader
113
The Life of St Vitalis
117
The Life of St Firmat
149
Glossary of Terms and Concepts
175
Bibliography
185
Index
195
Copyright

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About the author (2021)

Leah Shopkow is a professor of history at Indiana University-Bloomington.

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