Laura Varnam
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The Book of the Foundation of St Bartholomew’s Church
Consecration, restoration, and translation
in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
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This chapter examines the production and promotion of sacred space in the Middle English church foundation legend, The Book of the Foundation of St Bartholomew’s Church. The first half of the chapter explores the renewed relevance of the original twelfth-century Latin text, translated into Middle English during the restoration of St Bartholomew the Great, and shows how the text’s catalogue of miracles reinvigorates the sanctity of the church at an important moment in its history. The second half of the chapter examines the text’s representation of the foundation of the church and the characteristics of sanctity established by the miracles and by the text itself. Finally, the chapter shows how the text places St Bartholomew’s at the centre of a competitive map of Christendom in which the church is more than a match for its sacred neighbours, both in London and further afield.

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