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\ 210 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY feeling for the connection between style and ·belief, in the discriminating appreciation of ppetic effects, in the precise differentiation between shades of thought, and. not least in the definition of a pattern which clarifies without dampening "the soaring fire ·which in this age was distributed with such Pentecostal generosity." SPIRITUALIA SUB METAPHORIS CORPORALIUM1 w. s. HECKSCHER. Historians of art, in their investigation of the formative phase of the Gothic style and the part played in it by Suger, Abbot of St.-Denis (from 1122 to 1151), have -been fortunate in that i(time's mercy" has preserved _ the great abbot's careful accounts and powerful apologias of his own activities, both as a patron and as a director of the manifold artistic and administrative tasks that engaged the workshops and that filled the RariNitenkammern of the abbey church of St.-Denis in the fateful second quarter of the twelfth century.2 Less fortunate) however, has been the gene~al uncertainty that has dimmed the discussion where the prerequisite was a precise, unambiguous rendering of certain portions of Sugees texts. The main reason for -this sad state of affairs may be sought in the circumstance that even the medievalists among the historians of art are seldom either fully equipped or truly inclined to handle medieval Latin properly. (But who is!) Moreover Suger's writings abound in uncommon linguistic -difficulties which result from his strongly individualistic style, from his variegated sources of inspiration, and from the fact that he often discusses parts of the abbey church or objets d'ar~ which. are extant no longer. Panofsky's book, offering a meticulously careful translation concurrently with the complete original text,3 which is followed up with a rich apparatus of annotations, has done much more than fill painful lacunae in our knowledge. . The book is the outcome of decades of searching acquaintanceship with Suger and his text. Panofsky's contribution.is threefold: he has · given us a masterful yet restrained translation of both prose and verse; h~ has found the key to Suger's guiding "philosophy" in the very writings of '~St. Denis," and he has related this hitherto unrecognized source'to those of Suger's thoughts which come closest to what might be called a subc ~nscious awareness of the new Gothic qualities as against those of the_ 1Abbot Suger, On the Abbey Church of St.-Denis and Its Art Treasures. Edited, trans1 !!-ted, and annotated by ERWIN PANOFSKY• . Princeton: Princeton University Press (foronto: Oxford University Press]. 1946. Pp. xiv, 250, 26 pl. ($3.75) 2St.-Denis, "the Westminster Abbey of France," a pre-Carolingian foundation, hadin Stiger's day, and partly through him, become the guardian of France's history (so that a popular epic may claim to have been found "under its main-altar"), shelter of the Oriflamme (the war-banner of the French kings up to the battle of Agincourt), haven of venerated. relics, and primordial structure of the Gothic style. 30nly one fairly long but irrelevant piece of "de administratione" is omitted. REVIEWS 211 Roman-esque past; finally, he has probed and clarified some of th'e most intricate problems with which the historians of art and liturgy are confronted .4 By treating the texts involved with lucidity and a musical ear and the persons under discussion with rare and genial empathy, Panofsky has turned the comparatively slender volume into what Germans would call "eine ·Fundgrube des Wissens" which no medievalist, in whatever field he specializes, can afford to disregard.· Perhaps it is not without a certain ironical -significance that the appearance of Panofsky's ''Suger" was considerably delayed by the fact that the grea't rush order of Smyth's report on atomic energy crowded it off the Princeton presses. Turning to Suger from the atom and its menacing implications for the free development of the -individual, the reader is bound to be filled with a nostalgia that is not altogether without envy. And Suger-who had risen from poverty and humbleness of origin---:-was only one of the many of his age who, even if compared with the self-willed personalities of the Renaissance, stand out on account of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 210-214
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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