From obscurity to sanctity : continuity and change in the lives of St Dunstan of Canterbury
Item Usage Stats
Vitae Sanctorum, the lives of the saints, constitutes a distinct historical and literary genre with its own rules and dynamics. This genre provides the historian with valuable data concerning the historical basis behind the life of the saint. Moreover, these lives of the saints have become important sources for understanding the ecclesiastical politics of the times in which these vitae were composed and also for comprehending the concerns of the hagiographers. This dissertation discusses the life of St. Dunstan of Canterbury who was a leading monastic reformer in tenth-century England through the works of hagiographers, anonymous B., Adelard of Ghent, Osbern of Canterbury, Eadmer, William of Malmesmury and the anonymous author of the Early South English Legendary. These vitae were composed both in Latin and in Middle English before and after the Norman Conquest and emphasized different aspects of the life of St. Dunstan. The successive authors rewrote the life of the saint, and inserted new materials to satisfy the needs of contemporary clergy and laity. Concisely, this dissertation investigates these Lives to elucidate the important events and changes in the points of emphasis in the life of the saint varying in degrees which paved the way for the creation and development of the cult of St. Dunstan.