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The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints

by Jacobus de Voragine

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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374459,295 (4.33)22
"Depicting the lives of the saints in an array of factual and fictional stories, The Golden Legend was perhaps the most widely read book, after the Bible, during the late Middle Ages. It was compiled around 1260 by Jacobus de Voragine, a scholarly friar and later archbishop of Genoa, whose purpose was to captivate, encourage, and edify the faithful, while preserving a vast store of information pertaining to the legends and traditions of the church. In this translation, the first in English of the complete text, William Granger Ryan captures the immediacy of this rich work, which offers an important guide for readers interested in medieval art and literature and, more generally, in popular religious culture. Arranged according to the order of saints' feast days, these fascinating stories are now combined into one volume. This edition also features an introduction by Eamon Duffy contextualizing the work."--Provided by publisher.… (more)
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A collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Varagine that was widely read in late medieval Europe. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived. It was likely compiled around the years 1259–1266, although the text was added to over the centuries.

Initially entitled Legenda sanctorum (Readings of the Saints), it gained its popularity under the title by which it is best known. It overtook and eclipsed earlier compilations of abridged legendaria, the Abbreviatio in gestis et miraculis sanctorum attributed to the Dominican chronicler Jean de Mailly and the Epilogus in gestis sanctorum of the Dominican preacher Bartholomew of Trent. When printing was invented in the 1450s, editions appeared quickly, not only in Latin, but also in almost every major European language. Among incunabula, printed before 1501, Legenda aurea was printed in more editions than the Bible and was one of the most widely published books of the Middle Ages. During the height of its popularity the book was so well known that the term "Golden Legend" was sometimes used generally to refer to any collection of stories about the saints. It was one of the first books William Caxton printed in the English language; Caxton's version appeared in 1483 and his translation was reprinted, reaching a ninth edition in 1527.

Written in simple, readable Latin, the book was read in its day for its stories. Each chapter is about a different saint or Christian festival. The book is considered the closest thing to an encyclopaedia of medieval saint lore that survives today; as such, it is invaluable to art historians and medievalists who seek to identify saints depicted in art by their deeds and attributes. Its repetitious nature is explained if Jacobus da Varagine meant to write a compendium of saintly lore for sermons and preaching, not a work of popular entertainment. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Aug 28, 2021 |
2 v. ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
I've only got Vol II - bound but no cut pages.
  DWPress | Oct 13, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacobus de VoragineAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caxton, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellis, F. S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, Emily S.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lisi, CeciliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maggioni, Giovanni PaoloEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyzewa, Teodor deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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2 volumes (xviii, 391 ; x, 400 pages)
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"Depicting the lives of the saints in an array of factual and fictional stories, The Golden Legend was perhaps the most widely read book, after the Bible, during the late Middle Ages. It was compiled around 1260 by Jacobus de Voragine, a scholarly friar and later archbishop of Genoa, whose purpose was to captivate, encourage, and edify the faithful, while preserving a vast store of information pertaining to the legends and traditions of the church. In this translation, the first in English of the complete text, William Granger Ryan captures the immediacy of this rich work, which offers an important guide for readers interested in medieval art and literature and, more generally, in popular religious culture. Arranged according to the order of saints' feast days, these fascinating stories are now combined into one volume. This edition also features an introduction by Eamon Duffy contextualizing the work."--Provided by publisher.

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