The Archpoet and Medieval Culture

OUP Oxford
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This is the first monograph to be published about one of the most famous and least understood authors of the Latin Middle Ages. We know him by the pseudonym of Archpoet. Setting the Archpoet's world and works in their historical contexts, Peter Godman argues that they provide insight into a brilliant counter-culture of medieval Germany. Its subtlest exponent did not indulge in literary play but refashioned the political, social, and religious roles available to a twelfth-century thinker in order to create, for himself and his patron, an identity alternative to the norms of clerical conformity prevalent elsewhere in Europe. At a time when Germans were being decried as backward barbarians, he produced a manifesto of intellectual heterodoxy which wittily challenged the truth-claims made by humourless moralists. The Archpoet and Medieval Culture reconsiders the categoriesin which the literature of the Middle Ages is interpreted and suggests a less literal mode of reading the sources to historians.
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About the author

Peter Godman is a cultural historian of the Middle Ages and Renaissance with interests in the Latin tradition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Oct 30, 2014
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780191029967
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Europe / Medieval
Literary Criticism / Ancient & Classical
Literary Criticism / European / German
Literary Criticism / Poetry
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is a study of the intellectual history and religious culture of German-speaking Europe in the late Middle Ages. Its focus is the bilingual oeuvre of the Franciscan friar Marquard von Lindau (d. 1392), arguably the most widely-read author in the German language before the Reformation. His most successful works were those in which he considered pragmatic issues of Christian life, aimed at a broad reading public that stretched from monks and nuns living the contemplative life in enclosed convents; to his confreres, novices and students in the mendicant orders; and the literate citizens of the burgeoning mercantile centres. It is three of these pragmatic issues, central to late medieval religious life, around which this book is structured: the Passion of Christ, the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the devotion to the Virgin Mary. The dominant approaches taken towards each of these in the fourteenth-century church represented problematic challenges to Marquard; challenges which he met in a distinctive and influential manner, by no means in accordance with the affectively-charged devotional practices encouraged by many within and without his order, and so often considered normative for late medieval religious culture. The original voice with which Marquard spoke is made clear through the location of his oeuvre within the pan-European context of the debates in which his works participate. The ethos his works projected redetermined the trajectory of intellectual life in Germany into the fifteenth century and beyond.
Peter Godman presents the first intellectual history of Florentine humanism from the lifetime of Angelo Poliziano in the later fifteenth century to the death of Niccolo Machiavelli in 1527. Making use of unpublished and rare sources, Godman traces the development of philological and official humanism after the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 up to and beyond their restoration in 1512. He draws long overdue attention to the work of Marcello Virgilio Adriani--Poliziano's successor in his Chair at the Studio and Machiavelli's colleague at the Chancery of Florence. And he examines in depth the intellectual impact of Savonarola and the relationship between secular and religious and oral and print cultures.
Godman shows a complex reaction of rivalry and antagonism in Machiavelli's approach to Marcello Virgilio, who was the leading Florentine humanist of the day. But he also demonstrates that Florentine humanists shared a common culture, marked by a preference for secular over religious themes and by constant anxiety about surviving and prospering in the city's dangerous political climate. The book concludes with an appendix, drawn from previously incaccessible archives, about the censorship of Machiavelli by the Inquisition and the Index. From Poliziano to Machiavelli adds new depth to the intellectual history of Forence during his most dynamic period in its history.

Originally published in 1998.

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