By Elizabeth Freeman
The origins of the Cistercian monastic order are presently lower than severe scrutiny and revision, as students determine how the written be aware was once used to ?invent? a unified company identification. the following Elizabeth Freeman examines the vintage style for inventing a previous - the historical past, chronicle, and annal - and argues that old narratives of the English Cistercians helped outline the features of either the hot Cistercian monastic order and in addition the hot orders of 12th- and thirteenth-century England. She exhibits how Aelred of Rievaulx?s Relatio de standardo and Genealogia regum Anglorum articulated new senses of Englishness, and demonstrates via cognizance to library holdings that this specialise in nationwide self-definition persevered in the course of the 12th century. The Fundacio abbathie de Kyrkestall shifts concentration to neighborhood background and exploits Cistercian tropes of land-use in an effort to get to the bottom of the communal lack of confidence that characterised the Cistercians in round 1200. The Narratione de fundatione Fontanis monasterii good points one other approach to reconciling the nostalgic quest for continuity with the highbrow popularity of swap - it separates ancient ?fact? from ?meaning? and imbues occasions with wealthy allegorical importance. eventually, Ralph of Coggeshall?s Chronicon Anglicanum exhibits the a number of ideas Cistercian historians hired that allows you to flip the disparate and contradictory occasions of the earlier right into a understandable and significant narrative.
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Extra info for Narratives of a New Order Cistercian Historical Writing in England, 1150-1220: Cistercian Historical Writing in England, 1150-1220 (Medieval Church Studies, 2)
24 Aelred’s reference here to the Cistercian desert ideal (with the ideal’s call for poverty and purity) is an earlier version of the same argument. It contains an assumption that poverty and purity were, and always had been, the defining features of the order; it contains an assumption that these qualities were somehow accessible to other Cistercian houses by means of the genealogical link between members of the same filiation; and, further, it contains an assumption that there existed uniquely Cistercian types of poverty and purity.
Given that Aelred’s work was composed relatively early in English Cistercian history, it is a valuable contribution to our understanding of how the first generations of Cistercians subtly reshaped their own image via historical writings in order to claim continuity with a glorious past. In addition to the strictly Cistercian elements, the foundation passage also contains clear non-monastic meanings, represented best in the person of Walter Espec. It seems likely that Walter dedicated himself to founding monasteries out of a desire to perpetuate his own memory.
It speaks to two audiences—members of the newly literate Anglo-Norman laity such as Walter Espec, and the Cistercian monk—and it emphasizes the importance of memory in terms customized to each audience. Having reminded his multiple audiences of history’s memorial functions and his intentions for the use of history, Aelred now proceeds to discuss an area in which a standardized historical memory was considered necessary—the area of genealogy. Text Reception: Lay and Monastic Appeal The dual lay and Cistercian appeal of Walter’s speech leads me away from authorial and textual intention to a more extensive study of the Relatio’s reception.