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312BOOK REVIEWS centration of roles which had no French counterpart. The models for the church were certainly in large part French; and here Binski restores Reims to its traditional place as exemplar, though with Louis LX's Sainte ChapeUe not far behind . But Ui its decoration and symboUsm it drew on a much wider range of influences , notably from the Rome of the Cosmati, whose mosaic work was continued under Edward Fs patronage.At the same time it was the shrine of a thoroughly insular saint, though Edward the Confessor's quaUties, transmuted by hagiographical developments of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries from kingly to chivalric virtues, were ones which belonged to European culture. Some of Binski's best pages are given to Edward's cult, for which his study has a value independent of the cult's architectural and artistic context. The effect ofBinski's work is to loosenWestminster from its French moorings and to present it as an altogether odder and more individual artefact, reflecting the outlook ofkings who looked back to the EngUsh past and, in the case of Edward I, sideways to a British Imperium, as weU as overseas. Not all that he says is convincing. He sees the Cosmati work, for example, as charged with a royal ethic of respect for antiquity, imperial Rome, and (a very vague notion) the world outlook of popes and emperors; and here, as elsewhere, he perhaps unduly elevates ideology over taste in determining aesthetic choices. Nor does the art history always blend easUy with the overarching view ofWestminster as an exercise in political theories.The compUcated study oftheWestminster retable, for instance, looks to one who is not an art historian to be a seU-contained piece of art history. More generaUy open to criticism is Binski's use oflanguage. Longwinded , abstract, and often dUficult to foUow, his work is interesting and clever enough to have deserved the kind hand of a more severe editor. Fortunately, the forebodings prompted by the preface,with its talk of"Local hermeneutics,""discursive practices," and "polysemous meaning," are rarely borne out by the text. But the author's complex ideas could nevertheless have been expressed more simply and lucidly,with more force and no loss of originaUty to leave the reader stUl more grateful. J. R. Maddicott Exeter College, Oxford The Song ofthe CatharWars.A History ofthe Albigensian Crusade. ByWilUam of Tudela and an Anonymous Successor. Translated and edited by Janet Shirley. (Brookfield, Vermont: Scolar Press, Ashgate Publishing Company. 1996. Pp. xiii, 210. $59-95.) The Albigensian Crusade of the early thirteenth century witnessed the expansion of French power and the growth of papal influence. As with aU medieval crusades, the motives of the crusaders themselves were both religious and material: for the French crown and the Holy See it was fortunate that the French knights who led the crusading army against the Cathar heretics were BOOK REVIEWS313 eager for their share of the free-for-aU land-grab that victory would bring; this transfer of ownership from Cathars to true sons of the Church was also necessary to faciUtate the power structures (poUtical control and Uiquisition) that could eradicate heresy.These two aspects—the temporal and the spiritual—are clearly reflected by the two authors of The Song of the Cathar Wars.The first, WUliam ofTudela (writing c. 1211-1213) supported the causes of both the papacy and the French crown: a loyal CathoUc, he recognized the need for external intervention to suppress the heretics. His anonymous successor (writing 1213-1219) held contrary views: whoUy opposed to political and military interference into the affairs ofOccitania.he was nevertheless also a good CathoUc who simply wished that Count Raymond of Toulouse had stamped out the Cathar heresy by himseU.The Anonymous absolves Raymond of heretical leanings , and instead excoriates the crusade's leader, Simon de Montfort, as the vUlain ofthe piece.Another major difference is that whUeWilUam is a good writer, the Anonymous is a great one; Shirley is honest enough to make clear that this distinction is "aU but lost in translation." As an historical document itseU, The Song is ofgreat importance, not least because it offers an account from the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 312-313
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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