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Monasticism, in all of its variations, was a feature of almost every landscape in the medieval West. So ubiquitous were religious women and men throughout the Middle Ages that all medievalists encounter monasticism in their intellectual worlds. While there is enormous interest in medieval monasticism among Anglophone scholars, language is often a barrier to accessing some of the most important and groundbreaking research emerging from Europe. The Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West offers a comprehensive treatment of medieval monasticism, from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. The essays, specially commissioned for this volume and written by an international team of scholars, with contributors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States, cover a range of topics and themes and represent the most up-to-date discoveries on this topic.


‘It is difficult to do justice to this magisterial work and its sixty-four seminal essays. Despite the variety of topics and range of material covered, the work coheres successfully as a whole … what unites the essays and gives it its coherence is the repeated observation that there is no ‘grand narrative’ or predetermined teleological endpoint in writing such an account of monastic history in the medieval Latin West. So it is the sense of the diversity and disunity of the story that gives the two volumes their strong sense of unity! Yet, it is that very recognition of the variety and creativity among the numerous forms of monastic expressions of spirituality that provides the rich and fascinating stories that the authors uncover in these essays.’

Paul Foster Source: The Expository Times

‘Scholars of monastic life, from beginning graduate students to experienced specialists, will do well to turn to these essays - learned, thought-provoking, and methodologically inspiring - as the new starting point for their research.'

Walter Simons Source: Speculum

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