Saint Michael the Archangel in Medieval English Legend

Saint Michael the Archangel in Medieval English Legend

Richard F. Johnson


Boydell Press



First comprehensive study of the representations of St Michael in the liturgy, literature, and iconography of the period.
The cult and legends of St Michael the archangel were widespread in medieval England, and this book - the first full-length study of the subject - offers a comprehensive examination of their genesis and diffusion. Part I identifies and analyses the concerns, conflicts, and roles with which St Michael is associated, from scriptural and apocryphal literature through to the homiletic literature of the medieval period. Part II begins with a discussion of the vernacular recensions of the popular account of the archangel's earthly interventions, and goes on to survey the legendary accounts in Old English, Anglo-Norman, and Middle English of the archangel and his roles as guardian, intercessor, psychopomp, and warrior-angel follows. The Appendices contain the first English translation of the archangel's hagiographic foundation-myth; an annotated bibliographical list and motif index of textual materials relating to the archangel; and an essay on the iconographic representations of the archangel in medieval England.

RICHARD F. JOHNSON is Assistant Professor of English at William Rainey Harper College.


July 2005
186 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843831280
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BIC JFC, 1D, 2AB, 3F
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An interesting and informative account of the development of St Michael's cult. (...) (It) makes an important contribution to the study of Anglo-Saxon hagiography. MEDIUM AEVUM

A vital contribution to medieval English legends and (the) account of the growth and dissemination of St Michael's legends will act as an important starting point for future studies of the saint and his legends. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Exceptionally useful for the early hagiographic dossier of Michael the Archangel. THE RICARDIAN


Future studies of St Michael's cult and legend in medieval England will be heavily indebted to this book. SPECULUM

Author Bio

Richard F. Johnson is Assistant Professor of English at William Rainey Harper College, USA. He is also Chair of the Humanities Department and Co-Coordinator of International Studies and Programs at the college.