This volume contains translations of Goscelin of Saint-Bertin's Liber confortatorius and life of St Edith, with new essays about his life and work.
This collection of essays and
translations brings together two closely related works by an important
but little studied late eleventh-century author, Goscelin of
Saint-Bertin. His Liber confortatorius (the earliest work of
spiritual instruction for a female recluse known to have been written
in England) is addressed to Eve. Goscelin, who may have been a chaplain
at Wilton, had been Eve’s spiritual mentor since her childhood.
Eve, however, left Wilton in her early twenties to become a recluse in
Angers without even informing him of her plans, and in the Liber
confortatorius, written in the form of an extended letter (c.
1082), Goscelin attempts to reassert and reconfigure their former close
His account of the life and translation
of St Edith, who was a member of the Wilton community until her death
(in c. 986) at the age of twenty-three, was commissioned by the Wilton
nuns and based on their oral report. Completed in c. 1080, the Legend
gives a portrait of Edith and her mother Abbess Wulfthryth, and an
account of the community’s posthumous relationship with its saint
up until the time that Goscelin began work on it. It is (with the
exception of Goscelin’s Life of Wulfhild of Barking) our only
near contemporary narrative account of a late Anglo-Saxon women’s
The essays in this
collection present a closely integrated account of some of the most
central and striking aspects of the two texts. The essays and
accompanying translations are the result of a collaborative research
project undertaken at The University of Auckland.
Contributors: W.R. Barnes, Rebecca
Hayward, Kathleen Loncar, and Michael Wright