The Trauma of Monastic Reform

Community and Conflict in Twelfth-Century Germany

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Alison I. Beach
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , October
     200 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Jacob Doss forthcoming.


This book opens a window on the lived experience of monastic reform in the twelfth century. Drawing on a variety of textual and material sources from the south German monastery of Petershausen, it begins with the local process of reform and moves out into intertwined regional social, political, and ecclesiastical landscapes. Beach reveals how the shock of reform initiated decades of anxiety at Petershausen and raised doubts about the community's communal identity, its shifting internal contours and boundaries, and its place within the broader spiritual and social landscapes of Constance and Swabia. The Trauma of Monastic Reform goes beyond reading monastic narratives of reform as retrospective expressions of support for the deeds and ideals of a past generation of reformers to explore the real human impact that the process could have, both on the individuals who comprised the target community and on those who lived for generations in its aftermath.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Alison I. Beach is Associate Professor of History at the Ohio State University, Columbus. She is the author of Women as Scribes: Book Production and Monastic Reform in Twelfth-Century Bavaria (Cambridge, 2004) and is also editor, with Isabelle Cochelin, of the forthcoming two-volume Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West for the Cambridge New History Series.

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