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Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-10, Section: A, page: 3796.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2004.
Adviser: Andy Orchard.
This study examines stylistic and structural features of the early eighth-century Anglo-Saxon Vita Sancti Guthlaci, using the Vita 's many models, sources, translations, and adaptations to develop ideas about its role in a larger system of text-production. The first chapter orients the reader to major critical issues involved in present-day study of medieval hagiographic texts, while establishing key points of structure and theme which are pursued throughout the rest of the thesis. Chapter Two addresses biblical and hagiographic sources of the Vita, particularly the Lives of Antony, Paul the Hermit, Martin, Benedict, Fursey, and Cuthbert. The analysis emphasizes practices of 'source-layering' whereby the Vita's author integrates verbal and narrative borrowings from multiple texts. Building on the second chapter's conclusions about the author's models and compositional techniques, Chapter Three examines style and structure in the Vita Sancti Guthlaci to argue that stylistic features, especially those involving repetition, reinforce the careful structural patterning which the author has developed from his sources. The fourth chapter turns to the Old English prose version of Guthlac's Life, addressing ways in which the features of source-use, style, and structure articulated in earlier chapters influence the Vita's most immediate translation. Chapter Five considers many of the later medieval Latin and English Lives of Guthlac, nearly all of which are drastically shortened forms of the Vita. Examination of these short versions finds certain recurring practices of abbreviation and also shows that the redactors' selection and omission of material frequently reflects the Vita's careful structural patterning. As a whole, this project augments our understanding of medieval text-production by tracing the many threads involved in the composition and transmission of a single hagiographic text in medieval England.