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Understanding Rancé

The Spirituality of the Abbot of La Trappe in Context

Author(s): David N. Bell

ISBN13: 9808790710526

ISBN10: 0879071052

Publisher: Cistercian Publications

Extent: 398 pages

Binding: Paperback

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  • Both during his lifetime and afterwards Armand Jean le Bouthiellier, the abbé de Rancé, was a controversial figure. Alive, he was extravagantly admired by many, yet had, as one recent biographer observed, ‘an unhappy genius for incurring hostility unnecessarily’. Dead, he continued to evoke extreme reactions – he was either loved or loathed. One biographer nicknamed him ‘the thundering abbot’; other depicted him in hagiographical panegyrics. The present volume sets Rancé against the colorful and extravagant world of the seventeenth-century France and corrects both masterful and entertaining caricatures by exploring the world which circles of the ancient regime in which the young Rancé moved; and the austere monastic environment he created at La Trappe. ‘This is not so much a book about Rancé as around Rancé,’ the author writes. ‘I do not expect that it will persuade people who do not like Rancé to like him; it may, however, serve to explain why he said and di what he said and did in the way that he said and did.’

  • David N. Bell

    David N. Bell is Professor of Religious Studies and University Research Professor at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. His previous books with Cistercian Publications include translations of two works of Baldwin of Forde; two hagiographic works translated from the Coptic; three volumes of medieval monastic library indices; two volumes on the history of Christian doctrine, and Image and Likeness: The Augustinian Spirituality of William of Saint Thierry.

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Understanding Rancé

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