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Palgrave Macmillan

Francis of Assisi and His "Canticle of Brother Sun" Reassessed

ISBN 9781137306968
Publication Date October 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series The New Middle Ages

In his fairly short life - he lived from 1181 or 1182 to 1226 - Francis of Assisi wrote relatively little, but he taught, preached and lived so influentially, so charismatically, that his voice still speaks to us across the centuries. His Canticle of Brother Sun has been paid little attention by literary critics, despite being one of the first known works of literature in the Italian language. Bringing the skills of a literary historian to the subject, Brian Moloney comments on the canticle line-by-line and considers its genesis to reveal it as a carefully composed work of art, rather than as a spontaneous effusion of feeling.

Brian Moloney is Emeritus Professor of Italian of the University of Hull, UK. Former Chairman of the UK Society for Italian Studies and former Senior Editor of the journal Italian Studies, he has written widely on Italian literature and culture. His most recent book is Bonfires in the Night: Italian Novels of Peasant Crisis 1930-1950.

Il cantico di frate sole (Italian text and facing translation)
Il cantico di frate sole (An alternative translation)
1. Introduction
2. A man of his time
3. Praise and pain: the composition of the Canticle
4. Words and meanings
5. Form and structure
6. Francis's Mysticism and the Canticle
7. 'My Sister Death'
8. The Canticle and its contexts
9. The 'Knight of Christ': Christian chivalry in the Canticle
10. A Commentary on the Canticle
11. Conclusion


"[Moloney's] book is comprehensive, well informed, and clearly presented. It certainly serves the purpose of introducing first-time readers to the canticle by offering all the essential ingredients to interpret and analyse it from a literary, theological, and spiritual point of view." - Modern Language Review
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