Language, Self and Love

Hermeneutics in Richard Rolle and the Commentaries of the Song of Songs

Denis Renevey

Language, Self and Love

Denis Renevey

Distributed for University of Wales Press

228 pages | 8 1/2 x 5 3/5 | © 2001
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780708316962 Published October 2001 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only

Language, Self and Love offers a unique insight into the development of the language of interiority in the medieval literature inspired by the Song of Songs and its commentaries. It traces the evolution of a medieval identity in the process of self-fashioning and, in showing the importance of mystical writing for understanding medieval subjectivity, suggests that the ’self’ is not the early modern invention it is often claimed to be. Denis Renevey discusses the correspondences between the discourse of love in the Song of Songs and the language of mysticism in the writings of William of St Thierry and Richard Rolle, where the self is described in its attempts at establishing a direct relationship with God. He also shows how the textual strategies offered in mystical writing for the use of female recipients engage with questions of misogyny and the relationship between Latin and vernacular cultures.





Part 1: Hermeneutics and Language of Love in the Twelfth Century

1. Language Theory in the Twelfth Century

2. Hermeneutics and Degrees of Love

3. Discovering the Self through Love in the Writings of William of St Thierry

Part 2: Self and Tradition: Richard Rolle and the Commentary Tradition of the Song of Songs


4. From Interpres to Auctor: New Contexts for the Vocabulary of Love

5. Love of God and Lovers of the World: Self and Audience in Contra amatores mundi

6. Hermeneutics and Degrees of Love in the Epistles





Review Quotes

Language, Self and Love makes accessible some of the important liturgical and lexio divina aspects of self-shaping in reading and writing, utterance and listening as reflections on motives. It is sure to have a solid impact upon how the medieval mystics are likely to be read as well as a good demonstration of historically informed, nuanced hermeneutical reading.” –

Mystics Quarterly

“There is no doubt that Language, Self and Love is an original contribution to scholarship . . . Renevey has succeeded in treating the work of one of the most impenetrable of medieval authors with coolness and integrity” –Mystics Quarterly

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