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Richard Rolle and the Invention of Authority


  • Page extent: 376 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.565 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521033152)

This 1991 book is a literary study of the career of Richard Rolle (d.1349), a Yorkshire hermit and mystic who was one of the most widely read English writers of the late Middle Ages. Nicholas Watson proposes a chronology of Rolle's writings, and offers a literary analyses of a number of his works. He shows how Rolle's career, as a writer of passionate religious works in Latin and later in English, has as its principal focus the establishment of his own spiritual authority. The book also addresses wider issues, suggesting an alternative way of looking at mystical writing in general and challenging the prevailing view of the relationship between medieval and renaissance attitudes to authors and authority.

• A literary study of one of the most widely read English writers of the late Middle Ages • English translations of Rolle's Latin writings are provided • Provides an alternative analysis of the tradition of mystical writing


Preface; List of abbreviations; Introduction - contexts: three preliminary essays; Part I: 1. Interpreting Rolle's life; 2. The structure of Rolle's thought; Part II: 3. Active life: Judica me as apologetic pastoral; 4. Contemplative life, 'Seeing into Heaven': commentaries and Canticum amoris; Part III: 5. Contemplative life, Fervor: Incendium amoris; 6. Contemplative life, Dulcor: super psalmum vicesimum, Super canticum canticorum, Contra amatores mundi; 7. Contemplative life, Canor: melos amoris; Part IV: 8. 'Mixed' life: Super lectiones mortuorum and Emendatio vitae; 9. 'Mixed' life: the English works; Epilogue: Rolle as a late medieval Auctor; Excursus I: the chronology of Rolle's writings; Excursus II: Rolle's reading and the reliability of the Officium; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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