Louis IX of France reigned as king from 1226 to 1270 and was widely considered an exemplary Christian ruler, renowned for his piety, justice, and charity toward the poor. After his death on crusade, he was proclaimed a saint in 1297, and today Saint Louis is regarded as one of the central figures of early French history and the High Middle Ages. In The Sanctity of Louis IX, Larry F. Field offers the first English-language translations of two of the earliest and most important accounts of the king’s life: one composed by Geoffrey of Beaulieu, the king’s long-time Dominican confessor, and the other by William of Chartres, a secular clerk in Louis’s household who eventually joined the Dominican Order himself. Written shortly after Louis’s death, these accounts are rich with details and firsthand observations absent from other works, most notably Jean of Joinville’s well-known narrativeThe introduction by M. Cecilia Gaposchkin and Sean L. Field provides background information on Louis IX and his two biographers, analysis of the historical context of the 1270s, and a thematic introduction to the texts. An appendix traces their manuscript and early printing histories. The Sanctity of Louis IX also features translations of Boniface VIII’s bull canonizing Louis and of three shorter letters associated with the earliest push for his canonization. It also contains the most detailed analysis of these texts, their authors, and their manuscript traditions currently available.
List of Figures and Maps
List of Abbreviations
Note on Sources and Translation Policies
1. Three Early Letters on the Sanctity of Louis IX
2. Geoffrey of Beaulieu's Life and Saintly Comportment of Louis, Former King of the Franks, of Pious Memory
3. William of Chartres’ On the Life and Deeds of Louis, King of the Franks of Famous Memory, and on the Miracles That Declare His Sanctity
4. Pope Boniface VIII’s Bull Gloria Laus
Appendix: The Manuscript and Printing Histories of the Texts
M. Cecilia Gaposchkin is associate professor of history at Dartmouth College.
..this is a very interesting and valuable addition to the number of medieval sources now available in English, introducing a selection of underused texts to a new audience of both students and scholars, as well as shedding new light on the memory and afterlife of one of the most famous medieval rulers and best-known saints.
~Melanie Brunner, Speculum
The Sanctity of Louis IX aims to reach both scholarly and undergraduate audiences. For students, it offers highly readable and idiomatic translations of texts that have to date only been accessible in nineteenth-century Latin editions.... [T]his excellent set of translations is likely to transform teaching and research on one of the quintessential figues of the European Middle Ages.
~Michael Lower, The Catholic Historical Review
Few medieval persons inspire the fascination that the charismatic French king Louis IX (b. 1214) continues to exercise. Inheritor of the crown at age twelve, Louis IX reigned for nearly forty-five years, until his death near Tunis on 25 August 1270. The Sanctity of Louis IX: Early Lives of Saint Louis by Geoffrey of Beaulieu and William of Chartres highlights a dossier of translated texts spanning the almost twenty-seven years between Louis's death and the Bull that canonized him on 11 August 1297.... [T]he book is very likely to prove useful for scholars as well as students. In contrast to the Introduction’s very accessible tone, its footnotes direct scholars to a detailed bibliography of specialized works in English, French, and German. Last but not least, an appendix contains a detailed manuscript and publication history of the translated vitae.
~Irit Ruth Kleiman, H-France Review