The Correspondence between Peter the Venerable and Bernard of Clairvaux: A Semantic and Structural Analysis

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-04-28
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Starting from the premise of the letter as literary artefact, with a potential for ambiguity, irony and textual allusion, this innovative analysis of the correspondence between the Cluniac abbot, Peter the Venerable, and the future saint, Bernard of Clairvaux, challenges the traditional use of these letters as a source for historical and (auto)biographical reconstruction. Applying techniques drawn from modern theories of epistolarity and contemporary literary criticism to letters treated as whole constructs, Knight demonstrates the presence of a range of manipulative strategies and argues for the consequent production of a significant degree of fictionalisation. She traces the emergence of an epistolarly sequence which forms a kind of extended narrative, drawing its authority from Augustine and Jerome, and rooted in classical rhetoric. The work raises important implications both for the study of relations between Cluniacs and Cistercians in the first half of the 12th century and for the approach to letter-writing as a whole.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations vi
Introduction ix
Letter-writing and Friendship Reconsidered
Sanctity and Rebuke: the Relationship between Bernard's Apologia and Peter's Letter 28
The Proof of Caritas: Peter, Letter 65, Bernard, Ep. 147
Fraudulent Alms and Monstrous Election: Peter, Letter 29
Reproach, locus and Debate: Bernard, Ep. 228; Peter, Letter 111
The Salt of Caritas: Letter 111 Continued
Bitterness and Sweetness: Bernard, Ep. 387; Peter, Letter 149
Salvation, Damnation and Cohabitatio: Peter, Letter 150
A New Crusade: Bernard, Ep. 364; Peter, Letter 164
Duplicity or Simplicity: Peter, Letters 175 and 181; Bernard, Ep. 265
An Epistolary Closure: Peter, Letter 192
Conclusion 279(4)
Bibliography 283(14)
Index 297

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