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Book description

This ambitious book presents the first sustained analysis of the evolving representation of Cuthbert, the premier saint of northern England. The study spans both major and neglected texts across eight centuries, from his earliest depictions in anonymous and Bedan vitae, through twelfth-century ecclesiastical histories and miracle collections produced at Durham, to his late medieval appearances in Latin meditations, legendaries, and vernacular verse. Whitehead reveals the coherence of these texts as one tradition, exploring the way that ideologies and literary strategies persist across generations. An innovative addition to the literature of insular spirituality and hagiography, The Afterlife of St Cuthbert emphasises the related categories of place and asceticism. It charts Cuthbert's conceptual alignment with a range of institutional, masculine, northern, and national spaces, and examines the distinctive characteristics and changing value of his ascetic lifestyle and environment - frequently constituted as a nature sanctuary - interrogating its relation to his other jurisdictions.

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