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In this towering work, Andr Vauchez draws on the vast body of scholarship on Francis of Assisi produced over the past forty years as well on as his own expertise in medieval hagiography to tell the most comprehensive and authoritative version of Franciss life and afterlife published in the past half century.
After a detailed and yet engaging reconstruction of Francis's life and work, Vauchez focuses on the myriad textshagiographies, chronicles, sermons, personal testimonies, etc.of writers who recorded aspects of Francis's life and movement as they remembered them, and used thoseremembrances to construct a portrait of Francis relevantto their concerns. We see varying versions of his life reflected in the work of Machiavelli, Luther, Voltaire, German and English romantics, pre-Raphaelites, Italian nationalists, and Mussolini, and discover how peace activists, ecologists, or interreligious dialogists have used his example to promote their various causes. Particularly noteworthy is the attention Vauchez pays to Franciss own writings, which strangely enough have been largely overlooked by later interpreters.
The product of a lifetime of study, this book reveals a historian at the height of his powers.