Monodies and On the Relics of Saints

The Autobiography and a Manifesto of a French Monk from theTime of the Crusades

Guibert of Nogent - Author

Joseph McAlhany - Translator

Joseph McAlhany - Editor

Jay Rubenstein - Introduction by

Jay Rubenstein - Notes by

Jay Rubenstein - Translator

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ISBN 9781101552704 | 400 pages | 27 Sep 2011 | Penguin Classics | 18 - AND UP
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The first Western autobiography since Augustine's Confessions, the Monodies is set against the backdrop of the First Crusade and offers stunning insights into medieval society. As Guibert of Nogent intimately recounts his early years, monastic life, and the bloody uprising at Laon in 1112, we witness a world-and a mind-populated by royals, heretics, nuns, witches, and devils, and come to understand just how fervently he was preoccupied with sin, sexuality, the afterlife, and the dark arts. Exotic, disquieting, and illuminating, the Monodies is a work in which the dreams, fears, and superstitions of one man illuminate the psychology of an entire people. It is joined in this volume by On the Relics of Saints, a theological manifesto that has never appeared in English until now.

"The fascination of this elegantly translated volume lies in Guibert's perceptions of his own time, so utterly different from the worldview of a modern Westerner. Jay Rubenstein is a learned, witty, and sympathetic host as he introduces us to one of the twelfth century's most idiosyncratic, confessional, and engaging writers."
-Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Christianity and The Reformation

"Marvelous: a revelation. I had not heard of Guibert of Nogent. His Monodies is a very dark autobiography and profoundly moving in its visions of sin."
-Harold Bloom

"This magnificent autobiography has all the stuff of a psychological drama, the excitement of a great social upheaval, and the intrigue of a monastic mystery. It is one of those rare books that both delights scholars of the period and makes fascinating reading for the general literate soul."
-R. Howard Bloch, Yale University

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