Monasticism and Literature Criticism: Monastic Principles And Literary Practices - Essay

Herbert B. Workman (essay date 1913)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Workman, Herbert B. “The Message of Monasticism.” In The Evolution of the Monastic Ideal: From the Earliest Times down to the Coming of the Friars: A Second Chapter in the History of Christian Renunciation, pp. 319-52. Boston: Beacon Press, 1913.

[In the following essay, Workman discusses lessons that may be learned by studying the history of monasticism.]

I

From this survey of the development and history of Monasticism we shall do well to turn to the lessons we may learn from its story. In the intercourse of the saints, upon what special aspects of spiritual life, as consciously apprehended in his own soul, would the monk have...

(The entire section is 11620 words.)

M. Dominica Legge (essay date 1950)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Legge, M. Dominica. “The Friars and Pulpit Literature.” In Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters: The Influence of the Orders upon Anglo-Norman Literature, pp. 77-90. Edinburgh, Scotland: The Edinburgh University Press, 1950.

[In the following essay, Legge discusses the writings of the Dominicans and the Franciscans.]

The two great Orders of Mendicants had in some respects a similar history in England and in France, but while in France the Dominicans were the more important Order, supplying the Royal confessor and so winning the King's support for all their activities, including their great struggle with the University of Paris, in England it was the Franciscans...

(The entire section is 4781 words.)

Jean Leclercq (essay date 1957)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Leclercq, Jean. “Literary Genres.” In The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, translated by Catharine Misrahi, pp. 187-232. 1974. Reprint. London: SPCK, 1978.

[In the following essay, originally published in French in 1957, Leclercq surveys the types of literature written by the monks, including hagiographies, sermons, sententiae, and letters.]

In the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, no writing is done without “composition”: the stylistic material is arranged in a certain order. Authors conform to ways of writing and types of composition, each of which has its own rules. No doubt the idea of “literary genre” is...

(The entire section is 17152 words.)

Jean Leclercq (essay date 1957)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Leclercq, Jean. “Epilogue: Literature and the Mystical Life.” In The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, translated by Catharine Misrahi, pp. 309-29. 1974. Reprint. London: SPCK, 1978.

[In the following essay, originally published in French in 1957, Leclercq discusses how spiritual experience transforms literature.]

Protestations of modesty at the beginning of a work and the offering in conclusion, of excuses for its shortcomings, were once popular literary themes. But, even today, without any literary implication, any exposé which deals with a long cultural period must, of necessity, be submitted as provisional and...

(The entire section is 7314 words.)

William Collinge (essay date December 1984)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Collinge, William. “Monastic Life as a Context for Religious Understanding in St. Anselm.” American Benedictine Review 35, no. 4 (December 1984): 378-88.

[In the following essay, Collinge discusses Anselm's views on the importance of obedience and surrender in monastic life.]

Is the study of monastic life of interest to philosophers as philosophers?1 There is much in contemporary philosophy of religion to suggest that it can be.

One of the dominant tendencies of the philosophy of the past two centuries in the West is the effort to reintegrate the realm of thought, ideas, logic, with the realm of life, existence, praxis. This is...

(The entire section is 4061 words.)

Terrence Kardong (essay date March 1992)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Kardong, Terrence. “John Cassian's Evaluation of Monastic Practices.” The American Benedictine Review 43, no. 1 (March 1992): 82-105.

[In the following essay, Kardong analyzes John Cassian's early-fifth-century writings on monastic practices and experiences.]

Recent books on ascetic and monastic practices by Margaret Miles1 and Charles Cummings2 have been the object of much interest by those engaged in vowed monastic life. Much of the discussion centers on specific practices, but before a given practice can be evaluated, it would be helpful to have a clear idea of the significance of religious practices as such. In other words, a...

(The entire section is 9454 words.)

John D. Anderson (essay date September 1992)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Anderson, John D. “The Voyage of Brendan, an Irish Monastic Expedition to Discover the Wonders of God's World.” The American Benedictine Review 43, no. 3 (September 1992): 262-82.

[In the following essay, Anderson discusses the monastic observance described in the Navigatio Brendani, a medieval narrative of a seven-year voyage.]

INTRODUCTION

One of the most intriguing theological texts of the early Middle Ages, the Navigatio Brendani (Voyage of Brendan) explores the wonders of God's actions throughout creation. A seven-year sea voyage reveals a panorama of marvels drawn from natural phenomena, monastic...

(The entire section is 7341 words.)

M. B. Pranger (essay date 2003)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Pranger, M. B. “Reading Anselm.” In The Artificiality of Christianity: Essays on the Poetics of Monasticism, pp. 162-76. Stanford, Calif..: Stanford University Press, 2003.

[In the following essay, Pranger explains how Anselm's reading of Augustine illuminates the monastic mindset.]

In his recent book Augustine the Reader Brian Stock has drawn attention to a remarkable paradox in Augustine's thought. On the one hand, the act of meditative reading establishes, through the decoding of signs, the link between the reflective self and its ultimate goal and model, God, alias the Trinity. But on the other hand, the very same goal that acts as the incentive...

(The entire section is 6638 words.)