Sách scan The Golden Legend Lives of The Saints

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    Tên sách: The Golden Legend Lives of The Saints
    Tác giả: William Caxton

    Lời mở:

    The title of this volume-a translation of the Latin words “Legenda Aurea”-recalls the custom in medieval churches and monasteries of gathering into a large volume records of the lives and deaths of saintly personages, and reading them aloud according as the ecclesiastical year brought round their memorial days. The reading due on a particular day would be the “legenda” (scilicet “lectio”); and from it the whole volume would be entitled the “legendarium” or (more simply) the “legenda.” From the narrative character of these readings, which naturally made a considerable impression on the popular mind, the modern word “legend” gained its circulation and meaning; that its meaning has somewhat deteriorated, implying fiction rather than fact, is not surprising; a similar fate befell our word “story” and the French “ histoire.”

    The “legenda” of particular churches or monasteries would naturally be of local and limited scope. The thirteenth century-an age of mental awakening -demanded something of wider range. There was a public eager for an encyclopedic volume which should deal in attractive style with the saints of all times and places—their deeds, sufferings, and miracles. The production of such a work required a mind and pen of no common enterprise and ability: these, however, were ready for the work; and the “Legenda” of Jacobus de Voragine, appearing about the middle of the century, was hailed as “aurea,” as “golden” amid the baser metal of all other such repertories.

    Of its history more will be said in the subsequent biographical introduction. Its original Latin text (we may here add) is to be found in multitudinous manuscript copies and early printed editions in all the great libraries of the United Kingdom and the Continent; a convenient modern text is that of Graesse, printed at Breslau in 1890.


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