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Studies in Carthusian Monasticism in the Late Middle Ages

J. Luxford (ed.)
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XVI+367 p., 45 b/w ill., 1 b/w tables, 160 x 240 mm, 2009
ISBN: 978-2-503-51699-8
Languages: English
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Retail price: EUR 85,00 excl. tax
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Online content: http://dx.doi.org/10.1484/M.MCS-EB.6.09070802050003050106090908

This volume focuses on aspects of Carthusian history and culture of the later Middle Ages, a period of growth and vitality within the order. There is a primary but not exclusive focus on the English Province, which to date has received at best unbalanced attention. While the fundamental ambitions and ideals of Carthusianism formulated, articulated, and lived by the disciples of St Bruno between the late eleventh and the thirteenth centuries changed very little, the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries witnessed developments stimulated by and often commensurate with the progress of external culture. In such areas as devotional practice, literature, art and architecture, patronage, and monastic-lay relations generally, the houses of the order grew increasingly sophisticated: in some cultural spheres Carthusians were in the vanguard. The late Middle Ages thus offer rich opportunities for assessment of how a religious organization defined and justified by essentially reactionary conventions responded to constant forinsec evolution. 

The volume’s approach is multi-disciplinary, involving both senior and younger Carthusian scholars in investigation of the main facets of Carthusian life for which significant data survives. This permits a thorough analysis of the order’s character, one that reflects concern with synoptic understanding of medieval Carthusianism rather than partial assessment through a specifically devotional, literary, or more narrowly historical approach. Subject areas covered include the historical growth of individual Charterhouses, patronage of Carthusians by secular agents, Carthusian architecture and manuscript decoration, devotional practice, and textual culture.

Review

"This is a very well-designed collection, and one which opens up new avenues of research not only for Carthusian specialists, but is also an important voice in the wider debates on late medieval contemplative monasticism and its relationship with the lay world, its influence on contemporary spirituality and the ideas of reform, change and renewal."

(E. Jamroziak, in English Historical Review 519, April 2011, p. 416)

Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : religious orders
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Religious history
Medieval European history (400-1500) : local & regional history
British Isles

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