Richard Rolle and the Invention of Authority

Richard Rolle and the Invention of Authority

Paperback Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

By (author) Nicholas Watson, Series edited by Alastair J. Minnis, Series edited by Patrick Boyde, Series edited by John Burrow, Series edited by Rita Copeland, Series edited by Alan Deyermond, Series edited by Peter Dronke, Series edited by Nigel Palmer, Series edited by Winthrop Wetherbee

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 376 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 28mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 26 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521033152
  • ISBN 13: 9780521033152
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

This 1991 book is a literary study of the career of Richard Rolle (d.1349), a Yorkshire hermit and mystic who was one of the most widely read English writers of the late Middle Ages. Nicholas Watson proposes a chronology of Rolle's writings, and offers a literary analyses of a number of his works. He shows how Rolle's career, as a writer of passionate religious works in Latin and later in English, has as its principal focus the establishment of his own spiritual authority. The book also addresses wider issues, suggesting an alternative way of looking at mystical writing in general and challenging the prevailing view of the relationship between medieval and renaissance attitudes to authors and authority.

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Review quote

"...the most substantial assessment of Rolle and his importance since Hope Emily Allen's monumental Writings Ascribed to Richard Rolle, Hermit of Hampole, and Materials for His Biography, published in 1927. It is a meticulous study of Rolle's works, emphasizing the Latin ones, as evidence for an emerging authorial persona that could reconcile Rolle's conflicting apologetic and didactic aims...[T]hose who stick with it will be impressed by a lively intelligence engaged on an elusive subject, who in his writings tended to speak through the veiled language of Scripture rather than directly. Watson and his publishers are to be praised for the abundance and length of the Latin quotations (with good translations) allowed into the book...Except for Hope Emily Allen, no one to date has devoted so much serious attention to Rolle's style. The reader who perseveres with Watson will arrive at a new respect for Rolle's career..." Michael P. Kuczynski, Speculum

Table of contents

Preface; List of abbreviations; Introduction - contexts: three preliminary essays; Part I: 1. Interpreting Rolle's life; 2. The structure of Rolle's thought; Part II: 3. Active life: Judica me as apologetic pastoral; 4. Contemplative life, 'Seeing into Heaven': commentaries and Canticum amoris; Part III: 5. Contemplative life, Fervor: Incendium amoris; 6. Contemplative life, Dulcor: super psalmum vicesimum, Super canticum canticorum, Contra amatores mundi; 7. Contemplative life, Canor: melos amoris; Part IV: 8. 'Mixed' life: Super lectiones mortuorum and Emendatio vitae; 9. 'Mixed' life: the English works; Epilogue: Rolle as a late medieval Auctor; Excursus I: the chronology of Rolle's writings; Excursus II: Rolle's reading and the reliability of the Officium; Notes; Bibliography; Index.