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The Misadventure of Francis of Assisi

Jacques Dalarun

Publication Year: 2002

This first of three volumes by Professor Dalarun, each originally published in either Italian or French, represents a highly important and unique contribution to a series of viatal questions concerning the Franciscan movement in the Middle Ages. This publication will certainly generate lively discussion and a deeper understanding of the Franciscan phenomenon. In a tone that is profoundly personal and to the point, Dalarun offers to serve as a methodological guide in the renewed interest in the famous “Franciscan Question”: how best to read, interpret and relate the early biographies to the historical Francis.

Published by: Franciscan Institute Publications

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. 5-6

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pp. 7-8

IT IS WITH GREAT PLEASURE that The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University announces the publication of this English translation of La Malavventura di Francesco d’Assisi, by the eminent French medievalist, Jacques Dalarun, Director of the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes in Paris. This is the first of three volumes by Professor Dalarun to be published...

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pp. 9-12

SOLITAIRE OR SOLIDAIRE?” On this fundamental ambiguity Albert Camus ends his short story, Jonas ou l’artiste au travail. I have no experience of the work of an artist. But I have always felt that these two contradictory, yet complementary words summarize perfectly the work of a historian....

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pp. 13-18

I MET AND BECAME ACQUAINTED with Jacques Dalarun three years ago at Mendelpass on the occasion of the 12th International Week of Study on the “Societas Christiana,” whose topic was Church and Feudal World in the 12th and 13th Centuries. He had just arrived in Rome as director of the medieval department of the École Française de Rome and was becoming brilliantly and...


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pp. 19-20

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Chapter 1: The Magic Circle of the Franciscan Question

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pp. 21-58

FRANCIS OF ASSISI HAS BEEN A SAINT since July 16, 1228. Perhaps the most famous, he is certainly the most problematic of the Catholic Church’s official saints.
Much of our knowledge of him is filtered through sources of a certain type, which have very special rules of their own. These are the hagiographic sources, the legends. For a first approach...

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Chapter 2: The Franciscan Legends: Problems of Method and Interpretation

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pp. 59-92

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER was devoted to a quick overview of the Franciscan Question. There we noted the danger that historiography could hide the sources, even though we tried to pay special attention to their discovery, or rediscovery, and their use by scholars. The work of Giovanni Miccoli, in particular, offered the surest lesson learned from a century of lively debates:...

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Chapter 3: The Opus Celanense: An Illustrated Defense of the First Hagiographer

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pp. 93-138

WE HAVE ALREADY MENTIONED that the expression the “Franciscan Question” appeared in 1902 in an article by Salvatore Minocchi in the aftermath of the Life of St. Francis of Assisi by Paul Sabatier, published in 1894. We also said that the Franciscan Question is rooted in the decision by the Paris chapter of 1266 to destroy all the legends prior to that of...

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Chapter 4: The Treatise on the Miracles: Culmination of the Opus Celanense

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pp. 139-174

WITHIN THE FRANCISCAN SOURCES, each legend has been the object of many studies and differing interpretations. Yet the so-called Treatise on the Miracles by Thomas of Celano seems strangely neglected, a fact noted by Michael Bihl almost seventy years ago.1 The situation has not changed much....

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Chapter 5: The Collections of the Companions: Community and Individual

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pp. 175-220

IT IS TIME to go back now and consider the three sources that appeared between Thomas of Celano’s two Lives. These are the Anonymous of Perugia, the Legend of the Three Companions and the Legend of Perugia. Essentially, they represent the material contributed by the first companions in 1246 to supplement the First Life, and they make possible the writing of the Remembrance...

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Chapter 6: From Bonaventure to the Misadventure of Francis of Assisi

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pp. 221-258

VERY LITTLE IS KNOWN about the Franciscan hagiographers whose work we have looked at so far. Some remain anonymous, others are hard to identify, while for still others who are well known, such as Thomas of Celano, our information is pretty much limited to their literary production. On the other hand, we have more than enough information about our last author...


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pp. 259-286


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pp. 287-295

E-ISBN-13: 9781576592755
E-ISBN-10: 1576592758
Print-ISBN-13: 9781576591819
Print-ISBN-10: 1576591816

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2002

Edition: First