The Making of Saint Louis: Kingship, Sanctity, and Crusade in the Later Middle Ages

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Canonized in 1297 as Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270) was one of the most important kings of medieval history and also one of the foremost saints of the later Middle Ages. As a saint, Louis became the centerpiece of an ideological program that buttressed the ongoing political consolidation of France and underscored Capetian claims of sacred kingship. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin reconstructs and analyzes the process that led to the monarch's canonization and the ...
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Overview

Canonized in 1297 as Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France (r. 1226-1270) was one of the most important kings of medieval history and also one of the foremost saints of the later Middle Ages. As a saint, Louis became the centerpiece of an ideological program that buttressed the ongoing political consolidation of France and underscored Capetian claims of sacred kingship. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin reconstructs and analyzes the process that led to the monarch's canonization and the consolidation and spread of his cult.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a beautifully written, well researched, comprehensive, and insightful work on the cult of St. Louis, King Louis IX (1226-70) of France. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin focuses on the formative years of Louis's cult, from his death to the early decades of the fourteenth century when his image as saint was codified, and considers in turn the various groups responsible for crafting this holy identity. She employs a range of documents, masterfully analyzed: canonization documents, sermons, liturgical texts (Offices, prayers, hymns), medieval biographies, and manuscript illustrations. Scholars and students working in the fields of medieval history, art history, hagiography, and religion will find Gaposchkin's book an invaluable resource for its content, illustrations, and bibliography."—Paula Mae Carns, Catholic Historical Review, October 2009

"The splendid new study of 'the posthumous Louis' by M. Cecelia Gaposchkin . . . breaks new ground in using a rich array of unpublished liturgical texts and feast-day sermons for Saint Louis, which until now have largely been neglected by scholars. Gaposchkin uses these sources alongside better-known hagiographical texts to trace Louis’s evolution from king to saint following his death in 1270. This is the first book to fully explain how commemorations of Louis reconciled the paradox of his saintly and royal identities. . . . This elegant and thoroughly researched book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of late medieval sanctity, the relationship between sanctity and kingship, and the way that sermons, liturgy, and hagiography shaped the construction of memory."—Adam J. Davis, American Historical Review, October 2009

"Reading Cecilia Gaposchkin's elegant book, one has to be impressed by the care and erudition displayed in this undertaking. Years of research and writing must have been necessary for such mastery over a wide range of sources, many of them hitherto neglected by the copious scholarship on St. Louis. . . . Gaposchkin has produced a novel, scholarly, and engaging book that sets very high standards for the use of hagiographical and liturgical texts. Her topic is not St. Louis himself but the multi-level construction of his sanctity and cult after the king’s canonization in 1297. . . . Her meticulous care, insightful reading, conclusions, and mastery of the material reward the reader with new and unknown perspectives onto one of the most important late medieval kings. This is a work to place alongside the master-works on the subject."—Teofilo F. Ruiz, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, October 2009

"The Making of Saint Louis is one of the most important books on French history in years. It is a brilliant reconstruction and description of the way Louis IX was conceived as a saint in the two centuries after his death—I say brilliant and I mean it. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin exploits her sources with an admirable sophistication and mastery."—William Chester Jordan, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University

"Through a close analysis of sermons, liturgical sources and books of hours, M. Cecilia Gaposchkin demonstrates that in the years following the canonization of King Louis IX of France, different constituencies constructed different versions of the same saintly king. Franciscans remembered his charity and humility; Cistercians remembered his asceticism and defense of the faith. Capetian, Angevin, and Valois kings drew on Louis's memory to legitimize their own power, but others drew on that same memory in order to criticize the current king. This is truly an outstanding demonstration of the malleable qualities of sacred memory and the multiple purposes it could serve in medieval society."—Sharon Farmer, University of California, Santa Barbara

"M. Cecilia Gaposchkin's beautifully written, wide-ranging book examines the ways in which different constituencies—Saint Louis's descendants, other elites, members of various monastic orders, and others—constituted the memory of the king to serve their different, sometimes conflicting interests. Her evidence is primarily liturgical and homiletic, but she also musters images, documents, letters, ceremony, even coins in this subtle investigation of the perception of sanctity and sacral kingship in the half century after the king's death in 1270."—Joan A. Holladay, The University of Texas at Austin

"The Making of Saint Louis is a fine new analysis of one of the most important dynastic cults of the Middle Ages. M. Cecilia Gaposchkin focuses on liturgical sources to provide a new picture of the evolution of the cult of Saint Louis, which is perhaps the most attractive crystallization point of the idea of Christian rulership."—Gábor Klaniczay, Collegium Budapest and Central European University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801445507
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/20/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

List of Maps, Diagram, and Tables

List of Abbreviations

Introduction 1

1 The Making of a Saint, 1270-1297 21

2 The Canonization of 1297 48

3 Constructing the Cult: Bones, Altars, and Liturgical Offices 67

Excursus A Short Primer on the Structure of the Liturgical Office 93

4 Royal Sanctity and Sacral Kingship 100

5 The Monastic Louis: Cistercians and Dionysians 125

6 The Franciscans' Saint Louis and the Specter of Saint Francis 154

7 Joinville 181

8 Private Devotion, Saintly Lineage, and Dynastic Sanctity 197

9 Conclusion 140

App. 1 Sources for the Liturgical Tradition 245

App. 2 Liturgical Offices for Saint Louis of France 250

App. 3 Sermons in Honor of Saint Louis (IX) 284

App. 4 Sermons Misidentified as in Honor of Louis IX in Schneyer's Repertorium 290

Bibliography 293

Index 317

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