"This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the spiritual project that animated the early life of Cîteaux, founded in 1098."- Monica Brînzei, sehepunkte.de, May 2019. Read the full review online "This volume contributes to our understanding of the liturgical and mental world of the early Cistercian monks and to the oral and aural community associated with early Cîteaux... It is a welcome contribution."- Constance Hoffman Berman, Mediaevistik 32, 2019 "Diane J. Reilly’s study provides a productive interpretation of familiar material, not by applying new methodologies but rather by insisting on the importance of the liturgy as the context for and within which these manuscripts were made."- Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Medium Ævum, Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 2, 2019
This book is a study of the programmatic oral performance of the written word and its impact on art and text. Communal singing and reading of the Latin texts that formed the core of Christian ritual and belief consumed many hours of the Benedictine monk's day. These texts-read and sung out loud, memorized, and copied into manuscripts-were often illustrated by the very same monks who participated in the choir liturgy. The meaning of these illustrations sometimes only becomes clear when they are read in the context of the texts these monks heard read. The earliest manuscripts of Cîteaux, copied and illuminated at the same time that the new monastery's liturgy was being reformed, demonstrate the transformation of aural experience to visual and textual legacy.
Diane Reilly is Associate Professor of Art History at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her first book, The Art of Reform in Eleventh-Century Flanders: Gerard of Cambrai, Richard of Saint-Vanne and the Saint-Vaast Bible (Brill, 2006) explored connections between art, politics and monastic reform.