Restoring Creation: The Natural World in the Anglo-Saxon Saints’ Lives of Cuthbert and Guthlac
Title Details

323 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Series: Nature and Environment in the Middle Ages

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Restoring Creation: The Natural World in the Anglo-Saxon Saints' Lives of Cuthbert and Guthlac

by Britton Elliott Brooks

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
An investigation into two important Saints Lives provides a window into the Anglo-Saxon perception of the non-human world.
The question of the relationship between humanity and the non-human world may seem a modern phenomenon; but in fact, even in the early medieval period people actively reflected on their own engagement with the non-human world, with such reflections profoundly shaping their literature. This book reveals how the Anglo-Saxons themselves conceptualised the relationship, using the Saints Lives of Cuthbert and Guthlac as a prism. Each saint is fundamentally linked to a specific and recognisable location in the English landscape: Lindisfarne and Farne for Cuthbert, and the East Anglian fens and the island of Crowland for Guthlac. These landscapes of the mind were defined by the theological and philosophical perspectives of their authors and audiences. The world in all its wonder was Creation, shaped by God. When humanity fell in Eden, its relationship to this world was transformed: cold now bites, fire burns, andwolves attack. In these Lives, however, saints, the holy epitome of humanity, are shown to restore the human relationship with Creation, as in the sea-otters warming Cuthbert's frozen feet, or birds and fish gathering to Guthlac like sheep to their shepherd.

BRITTON ELLIOTT BROOKS is Project Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo, Centre for Global Communication Strategies.
Introduction
Monastic Obedience and Prelapsarian Cosmography: The Anonymous Vita Sancti Cuthberti
Ruminative Poetry and the Divine Office: Bede's Metrical Vita Sancti Cuthberti
Bede's Exegesis and Developmental Sanctity: The Prose Vita Sancti Cuthberti
Enargaeic Landscapes and Spiritual Progression: Felix's Vita Sancti Guthlaci
Landscape Lexis and Creation Restored: The Old English Prose Life of Guthlac and Guthlac A
Conclusion: Afterlives of Cuthbert and Guthlac
Bibliography
"This book is ideally suited for scholars of early medieval England and especially experts in Old English literature and biblical exegesis, though it offers imaginative case studies to a broader audience that demonstrate what we might plausibly call "ecological thinking" in the early Middle Ages." H-ENVIRONMENT
"[T]his book is a learned, important contribution to the ways in which early medieval hagiographers were attuned to the natural world and drew on it in connection to sanctity." A. Joseph McMullen, Journal of British Studies
"In its technical aspects, the monograph has much to offer to early career medievalists interested in the study of hagiographical sources. In its assessment of the texts, Brooks's work not only exhibits a refined model of hagiographic textual analysis, but it also demonstrates the means by which contemporary exegetical material is deployed in these to extract underlying meanings." Comitatus
"Restoring Creation will be of interest to scholars of hagiography, ecocriticism, and Anglo-Saxon England, as it provides not only a strong argument for understanding Creation in the various vitae of Cuthbert and Guthlac but also a useful methodology that emphasizes reliance upon Anglo-Saxon theology over modern theory. [...]The book is well-structured, points are clearly articulated, and ample close readings of key passages are provided." Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval

Hardcover

9781843845300

June 2019

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781787445604

June 2019

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Title Details

323 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Series: Nature and Environment in the Middle Ages

Imprint: D.S.Brewer