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Preface - A Literary Apostolate:John Fleming And The Franciscan Literature Of The Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

In Middle English studies John Fleming is known as an eminent Chaucerian. The Franciscans produced some of the most brilliant scholars of the Middle Ages, yet their founder insisted on using the vernacular and referred to himself as an idiota; they are best known for monuments of spirituality written by the likes of Bonaventure, Ubertino da Casale, Francis himself, yet John's book focuses on the writings that had until then been regarded mostly as epiphenomena of Franciscan mysticism. One of the ironies of John's book on Franciscan literature is that it can be read tropologically for its advice on setting aside immediate ambition. It is a strikingly humble book: humble about its exclusion of the vast scholastic literature of the Franciscans, its relative silence about the achievements of the Dominicans and Carmelites, even its glancing critique of Bonaventure himself.

Keywords: Franciscan literature; John Fleming; Middle Ages



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