Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Written World: Past and Place in the Work of Orderic Vitalis

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Written World: Past and Place in the Work of Orderic Vitalis

Article excerpt

Amanda Jane Hingst, The Written World: Past and Piace in the Work of Ordeñe Vitalis (Notre Dame, Ind.; University of Notre Dame Press, 2008). xxíü + 272 pp. ISBN 9-780268-030865. $40.00.

Prompted by the attention postmodern geographers pay to how the world is described rather than how it is, the author identifies Orderic Vitalis as playing a 'pivotal' role in laying 'the foundations for the hístoricízed geography that shaped twelfth-century historical writing' and distinguished it from 'the annaHstic tradition of the earlier middle ages'. According to Amanda Hingst, Orderic derived his peculiar sense of space from the belief that God had designated the site of his own monastery for holy living even before St Evroul arrived, and it therefore had a 'unique and holy reality' and 'a historical meaning': Orderic showed how history and geography had 'come together' there in ways that could be applied to 'the wider expanse of his known world'. The longest chapter of the book then explains how Orderic came to reject the 'static geographies of classical Christian historiography', and this is followed by an 'Entr'acte: at sea*, where Orderic is credited with a 'vision*: he realized that the Norman gens inhabited a 'world of water'. This 'revolutionized the geography of the northern world ... changing all that western geographers thought they knew' about land as the centre of human concerns. The next four chapters demonstrate the implications of this for Orderic's ideas about the historical geography of England, Jerusalem, Purgatory, and the Eucharist. The text comprises only half the book; the rest is notes and bibliography This summary of the contents itself indicates the disparate character of the 'geographical' topics treated. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.