A History of Christian-Latin Poetry: From the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages

A History of Christian-Latin Poetry: From the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages

A History of Christian-Latin Poetry: From the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages

A History of Christian-Latin Poetry: From the Beginnings to the Close of the Middle Ages

Excerpt

I have attempted this sketch in outline of the development of Christian-Latin poetry from its beginnings to the fourteenth century in the hope that it may be of use not only to students of medieval literature, but also to students of the general history of the Middle Ages, who are now being encouraged to devote more attention to the 'cultural' achievements of a period so rich in its artistic and literary monuments, and in its social, legal, and speculative activity.

The literary history of the Middle Ages remains and will long remain to be written. An account of the history of medieval Latin poetry has this advantage--it moves along the broad lines of intellectual and social growth, and of religious development. It will be found to contain the names of many of the great men within the Church, who helped to build up the fabric of the new Christian civilization out of the apparent wreck of the ancient world.

In quality the Latin verse of the Middle Ages exhibits an immense variety; for medieval literature, unlike the literature of antiquity, has come down to us in a vast bulk, in which good and bad are mingled, the tentative along with the complete achievement. My aim has been by means of ample quotation to enable the reader to follow the process of formal development or change, and at the same time to appreciate the quality of the poetical attainment.

I am greatly indebted to the Delegates of the Clarendon Press for their kindness in undertaking the publication of this book, and, in particular, I wish to thank Mr. Kenneth Sisam, the Assistant Secretary, for advice and encouragement, and Mr. Frederick Page, of the Oxford Press, for reading the manuscript and proofs, and for many suggestions which have . . .

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