This work, first published in 1863, relates the biography of a complex, visionary reformer from his birth in 1091 to his death in 1153, capturing in the process the major currents of twelfth-century politics, culture and faith. From the foundation of the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux to its rise as a centre of monastic austerity and devotion, the book traces Saint Bernard's participation in the seismic events of his day, including the creation of the Knights Templar, the rise of scholasticism and the preaching of the Second Crusade. Told in a lucid, anecdotal style by the Victorian essayist, biographer and political reformer James Cotter Morison (1832-88), whose friends included Matthew Arnold and Thomas Carlyle, this is an important work of Victorian medievalist criticism, capturing the spirit of its own age even as it evokes the spirit of another.
Table of Contents
Book I: 1. Saint Bernard's birth; 2. Choice of a career; 3. Growth of Citeaux; 4. Foundation of the Order of Citeaux; 5. Saint Bernard's friend, William of Thierry; 6. Visits to Paris; 7. Secular episode; 8. Quarrel with the Bishop of Paris; 9. Literary compositions; Book II: 1. Death of Pope Honorius II; 2. William, Count of Aquitaine, still favours Anacletus; 3. Converts at Clairvaux; 4. Third journey to Italy; 5. Death of Saint Bernard's brother, Gerard; Book III: 1. Letter of William of St Thierry to Saint Bernard and the Bishop of Chartres; 2. Life of Peter Abelard up to the Council of Sens, AD 1140; 3. Theology of Abelard; 4. The Council of Sens; 5. Saint Bernard as a monk and ruler of monks; 6. The Immaculate Conception; Book IV: 1. Condition of Syria and the East up to the middle of the Twelfth Century; 2. The Second Crusade preached by Saint Bernard; 3. The Second Crusade; 4. Acts of Saint Bernard during the progress of the Crusade; 5. The last years of Saint Bernard.