IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 103: Medieval French Religious Writing and Its Context

Monday 9 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Jeff Rider, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University, Connecticut
Paper 103-aVision in the Anglo-Norman Voyage of St Brendan
(Language: English)
Jude Mackley, Independent Scholar, York
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 103-bSoissons and the Royal Abbey of Saint-Médard: Historical Contexts for the Life and Work of Gautier de Coinci
(Language: English)
Donna Mayer-Martin, Department of Music History, Southern Methodist University, Texas
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Monasticism, Music
Paper 103-cSpiritual Arborescence: The Meaning of Trees in Late Medieval Devotion
(Language: English)
Sara Ritchey, Department of History & Geography, University of Louisiana Lafayette
Index terms: Art History - General, Monasticism
Abstract

Abstract paper a: The 12th-century Anglo-Norman Voyage of St Brendan includes some enhancements to details that are not included in the Latin Navigatio sancti Brendani. One of these is the use of vision, and how certain areas are obscured, by darkness, clouds, smoke or fog, whilst others are seen without impediment. This paper proposes to compare and examine scenes in the Navigatio and the Anglo-Norman Voyage and to address the theological message being that is linked to vision.

Abstract paper b: The Abbey of Saint-Médard in the diocese of Soissons boasted a rich heritage of power and authority from the 6th century. One of the most important and protected religious centres in northern France during the Merovingian and Carolingian epochs, Saint-Médard and the city of Soissons were integrally woven into the texture of the emerging French monarchy of the early Middle Ages. This paper explores the shifting power relationships between the abbey (and its neighbouring priory at Vic-sur-Aisne), the city of Soissons and its hereditary counts, and the monarchy. Within these contexts are placed those ‘glory’ years when the Coinci family dominated the abbey’s leadership, the best-known member of which was Gautier de Coinci (1177/78-1236), author of Les Miracles de Nostre Dame.

Abstract paper c: This paper will explore the spiritual significance of trees as they appear in the art and rhetoric among late medieval monastic orders. From the first instances of the proliferation of tree imagery in 13th-century manuscript illumination and homiletics, with Bonaventura’s Lignum Vitae, we can track the tree’s resonance as a sign for the crucifixion and the nativity, the death and birth of Christ. Each religious order examined here – the Franciscans, Dominicans and Carthusians – employs generally agreed-upon meanings for the tree but also adapts the significance and representation of the tree to fit certain specific needs of the order.