An indispensable reference for the history of monasticism in the western work, Montalembert’s seven-volume masterpiece on the subject still reads with depth and conviction. Covering the monastic movement from its precursors to the period of the Venerable Bede, this set contains substantial information on a number of western saints.
One of the writers responsible for reviving hagiography, Montalembert’s magnum opus was his seven-volume detailed study of the monks of the western church. Written with Montalembert’s characteristic flair, this classic of western church history is now available in a handsome seven-volume set in the Gorgias Theological Library. This quality reproduction of the 1861 edition chronicles the rise, decline, and ultimate survival of the monastic movement in the west. Taking the Roman Empire as a starting point, Montalembert examines eastern and western precursors to monasticism before discussing St. Benedict and St. Gregory the Great. The monks under the Merovingians and the missions to the British Isles are thoroughly considered in volume one. Further important people and developments in monasticism are discussed: St. Columba and St. Augustin of Canterbury. Celtic and Anglo-Saxon monks leading up to the Venerable Bede are given careful attention as Montalembert discusses the social and political influence of the monastics on the Anglo-Saxons. An appendix examines the monasteries of Iona, Lindisfarne, Peterborough, and Hexham in detail. Helpful genealogical tables of early English monarchs are also provided.
Charles Forbes René; de Montalembert (1810-1870) was a member of a distinguished family, yet was not content to take his ease. Noted as a publicist and orator, the Count de Montalembert also led an active political life, believing that the church should not be under the control of the state, nor closed to new ideas. His writing style was noted for its finesse and zeal. He was eventually made a member of the coveted Académie Française.