The Descensus ad inferos in the Old English Prose Life of St Guthlac and Vercelli Homily xxiii

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Abstract

Concetta Giliberto’s essay investigates the motif of the descensus ad inferos in the anonymous Old English version of Felix’s Vita S. Guthlaci and Vercelli Homily xxiii, two texts which have been shown to be independently derived from a now lost vernacular translation of the Latin Vita. Apart from some differences in the two texts, the account of the devilish persecution of St Guthlac culminating in the episode of the descensus ad inferos is a most revealing case study of the Anglo-Saxon appropriation of the hagiographic genre, in that one of the most classical topoi of the saints’ lives narratives, that is the struggle with demons, itself demonstrably traceable to the very foundational hagiographies of the Desert Fathers, first of all the Vita Antonii, has been moved to an eschatological context and blended with some of the most distinctive elements of the Anglo-Saxon vision literature.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteHagiography in Anglo-Saxon England: Adopting and Adapting Saints' Lives into Old English Prose (c. 950-1150)
Pagine227-251
Numero di pagine25
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeTextes et Études du Moyen Âge

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