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Two Lives of Saint Colette: With a Selection of Letters by, to, and about Colette

Winner of the 2022 Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender's Award for a Scholarly Edition in Translation

Saint Colette of Corbie was a great French reformer of the Franciscan Order and the founder of seventeen convents. Though of humble origin, she attracted the support of pow-erful patrons and important Church officials. The two biographies translated here were authored by Pierre de Vaux, her confessor and mentor, right after her death, and by Perrine de Baume, a nun who for decades was Colette’s companion and confidant, about 25 years later. Both offer fascinating portraits of the saint as a pious ascetic assailed by demons and performing miracles, but also as a skillful administrator and caring mother of her nuns. 

Saint Colette of Corbie (1381–1447; canonized 1807) is one of the most important reformers of the late-medieval and early modern period, one of the most influential of all pre-modern European women in terms of institutional impact, and a fascinating French fig-ure in the era of the Hundred Years War. She has never quite received her historiographic due, very likely because her two French “lives” — the second of the two authored by a woman — have not been available in English translation, while even the French edition is difficult to access. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, one of America’s great medievalists and leading specialists in medieval French, is just the right scholar to make these compelling lives of Saint Colette available to a contemporary audience.

-Sean L. Field, Professor of History, University of Vermont

RENATE BLUMENFELD-KOSINSKI, Distinguished Professor of French emerita at the University of Pittsburgh, served as President of the Medieval Academy of America in 2020–21. Her most recent books include The Strange Case of Ermine de Reims: A Medieval Woman between Demons and Saints (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015) and Christine de Pizan. Othea’s Letter to Hector (with Earl Jeffrey Richards) in the present series (2017), as well as several coedited collections on Philippe de Mézières.

Winner of the 2022 Society for the Study of Early Modern Women and Gender's Award for a Scholarly Edition in Translation

Saint Colette of Corbie was a great French reformer of the Franciscan Order and the founder of seventeen convents. Though of humble origin, she attracted the support of pow-erful patrons and important Church officials. The two biographies translated here were authored by Pierre de Vaux, her confessor and mentor, right after her death, and by Perrine de Baume, a nun who for decades was Colette’s companion and confidant, about 25 years later. Both offer fascinating port...

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book Details

  • Page Count:

    288 pages

  • Publication Year:

    2022

  • Publisher:

    Iter Press
  • Series:

    • The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 94

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