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History and Hagiography in Matthew Paris's Illustrated Life of Edward the Confessor

Title: History and Hagiography in Matthew Paris's Illustrated Life of Edward the Confessor.
Name(s): Carter, Deirdre Anne, author
Emmerson, Richard, professor directing thesis
Gerson, Paula, committee member
Leitch, Stephanie, committee member
Department of Art History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2009
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In the mid-thirteenth century, the English monk, author, and artist Matthew Paris produced a rich collection of illustrated manuscripts. Although he is best known for his historical chronicles, Matthew also wrote and illustrated several saints' lives, including those of Saint Alban, Edward the Confessor, and Thomas Becket. The existing copies of these works reveal that Matthew frequently infused his saints' lives with additional historical material, blurring the lines between history and hagiography. This thesis focuses on the Life of Edward the Confessor (Cambridge, University Library, MS Ee.3.59) and explores the way in which Matthew visually represents the lengthy historical sequences that he has added to the more traditional account of the saint. I argue that these additions have a significant impact on the narrative and that they suggest that Matthew had an unusual understanding of how history and hagiography relate to one another. I begin with an exploration of the differing approaches that Matthew took in the illustration of his saints' lives as opposed to his chronicles and demonstrate that Matthew decorated both types of manuscripts with innovative images that were tailored to suit their accompanying texts. I then investigate the nature of Matthew's alterations to his Life of Edward the Confessor and argue that these historical additions provide a contextual frame for the hagiographic narrative by placing Edward's saintly life within the broader context of English history. Furthermore, I suggest that Matthew carefully designed the illustrations of this historical material in order to present his intended reader, Queen Eleanor of Provence, with a very special manuscript that suited her age, lineage, and status as an influential woman. I argue that Matthew's historical additions created a narrative that was not only spiritually affective, but also entertaining, educational, and representative of contemporary changes in the notion of both history and sainthood.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-4143 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis submitted to the Department of Art History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2009.
Date of Defense: April 10, 2009.
Keywords: Illustrated Saints' Lives, English Saints, Word and Image, Reception, Historical Manuscript Illustration, La Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei, Chronica Majora, Narrative Structure, Medieval Manuscript Illustration, English History, St. Albans Abbey, English Manuscript Illustration, Thirteenth-Century England
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Richard Emmerson, Professor Directing Thesis; Paula Gerson, Committee Member; Stephanie Leitch, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Art -- History
Architecture -- History
Archaeology -- History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Carter, D. A. (2009). History and Hagiography in Matthew Paris's Illustrated Life of Edward the Confessor. Retrieved from