Review: The Image of St. Francis: Responses to Sainthood in the Thirteenth Century

Document Type

Book Review


History (Pomona)

Publication Date



St. Francis, preacher, urban ascetic, sainthood, impressions, images, text


As the author states at the outset, "this book is about the impression Francis made--intentionally and in spite of himself--on contemporaries and on the early generations after his death, and the ways that he and they expressed it." It makes perfect sense that such a study should focus on Francis given not only the wealth of images, textual and visual, that he inspired after his death, but the wonderfully creative ways that he presented himself to his audiences as a preacher and an urban ascetic. Indeed, as the author observes, it was precisely Francis's image that "bewitched successive generations, as it bewitched contemporaries, into thinking that he brought a new revelation with him" when in fact his spiritual program was highly derivative.

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