IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 1526: Cistercian Studies, I: Constructing Cistercian Pleasures and the Pleasures of Cistercian Construction

Thursday 4 July 2013, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Terryl N. Kinder, _Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses_, Pontigny
Moderator/Chair:Terryl N. Kinder, _Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses_, Pontigny
Paper 1526-aIocunda narratio: Cistercian Narrative Pleasures
(Language: English)
Stefano Mula, Department of Italian, Middlebury College, Vermont
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 1526-bFood, the Guest House, and the Entertainment of Strangers at the Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstall
(Language: English)
Richard Thomason, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Local History, Monasticism, Religious Life
Paper 1526-cReconstructing the Territory of the Estates of Fountains Abbey
(Language: English)
Stephen Anthony Moorhouse, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Leeds
Index terms: Archaeology - Sites, Daily Life, Local History, Monasticism

Paper -a:
In the second half of the 12th century, in particular in the monastery of Clairvaux, Cistercian monks started collecting stories in large numbers. In Herbert of Torres’ Liber visionum et miraculorum, younger monks are eager to hear words of wisdom from their elders, who only reluctantly accept to share their experiences, worried of falling into the sin of pride. Were the novices only interested in their own spiritual edification, or were they also eager to listening to a good story? Was this pleasure part of the goal, or an unintended consequence? In this paper we will analyze the earliest collection of Cistercian exempla to show how Herbert’s work itself is a testimony to the importance of pleasure in the diffusion and effectiveness of these short narratives inside the order.

Paper -b:
While the strictures of Cistercian observance restricted the brethren’s diet, the monastic guesthouse was not bound by the same regulations. The presence of seculars in the precinct meant that there was opportunity for monks to indulge in worldly fare; indeed, this was a duty of the abbatial office. Using animal remains as a material source, the monastic and lay diets can be reconstructed and the contrasts between them assessed. What does this suggest about Cistercian attitudes towards food, and therefore what they saw as praiseworthy conduct? How were these attitudes integrated into Cistercian identity?