The Welsh Saints: A Study in Patterned Lives

October 2001
224 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780859916400
Format: Paperback

The Welsh Saints: A Study in Patterned Lives

Elissa R. Henken

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The Welsh saints have highly patterned lives - structured according to traditional expectations. In addition to the broad narrative structure which they share with their secular counterparts, the saints also share with each other a distinctive set of hagiographical motifs. Drawing on sources ranging from seventh-century Vitaeto twentieth-century fieldwork, Henken discusses the male and female biographical patterns and then presents the common themes and motifs which run through the saint's lives. This material is organized according to stages of the saints' lives and categories of their activity. The volume also includes a complete motif index and an index of traditions associated with the individual saints.
ELISSA R. HENKENcurrently teaches both folklore and Celtic literaure at the University of Georgia.


`This book is based upon detailed folklore motif analysis of the vitae of nearly fifty early-medieval Welsh saints-and convincingly demonstrates the author's thesis that, structurally, the high-medieval lives treat male saints in a fashion strikingly similar to that for mythological and secular heroes-a work that breaks new ground in a way that will be intelligible and thought-provoking to a wide range of scholars.' SPECULUM