The Saint and the Count: A Case Study for Reading like a Historian
While historians know that history is about interpreting primary sources, students tend to think of history as a set of facts.
In The Saint and the Count, Leah Shopkow opens up the interpretive world of the historian using the biography of St. Vitalis of Savigny (d. 1122) as a case study. This biography was written around 1174 by Stephen of Fougères and provides a rich stage to demonstrate the kinds of questions historians ask about primary sources and the interpretive and conceptual frameworks they use. What is the nature of medieval sources and the interpretive problems they present? How does the positionality of Stephen of Fougères shape his biography of St. Vitalis?How did medieval people respond to stories of miracles? And finally, how does this biography illuminate the problem of violence in medieval society? A translation of the biography is included, so that readers can explore the text on their own.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 192 pages
- Illustrations: 4
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationLeah Shopkow is a professor of history at Indiana University-Bloomington.
Table of contents
Introduction: “We Should Not Pass Over in Silence”
1. “In the Province of Bayeux”: St. Vitalis in the Historical and Hagiographic Record
2. “Strive to rise swiftly from the dust”: The Author Stephen of Fougères
3. “Men who built the Holy Church”: Hagiography and Genre
4. “These are not our inventions”: Miracles and Doubt
5. “They tried to kill him”: Hagiography and the Problem of Violence
Afterword: “So that my words may not bore the reader”
Appendix 1: The Life of St. Vitalis
Appendix 2: The Life of St. Firmat
Glossary of Terms and Concepts
Subjects and Courses