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As Lewis discusses, historians have learnt to use hagiography as evidence for mentalities, and discovered it to be an excellent source for social and cultural histories. 115 The genre has been particularly useful to studies on the borderlines of history, art history and literature. 116 Medievalists have adopted the techniques of cultural studies to read our own less-than-respectable popular literatures. 117 Historicist readings such as those detailed above show that hagiography was engaged in the conversations and debates of its own day.

Ashley and Sheingorn, pp. 1–68, p. 2; Jacqueline Jenkins and Katherine J. Lewis, ‘Introduction’, St Katherine of Alexandria: Texts and Contexts in Western Medieval Europe, ed. Jenkins and Lewis (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), pp. 1–18, p. 3. INTRODUCTION 23 making it possible for researchers from all over the world to view unique artworks, and enabling analysis of large bodies of data. Numerous attempts have been made to process materials for these purposes, but most remain as yet under development.

The Vikings demanded part of his kingdom, something that hagiographers present him as willing to give up if his enemies would convert to Christianity, but he absolutely refused to abjure his own faith. As with the problematic issue of royal chastity, the hagiographers’ emphasis on Edmund’s disdain for his earthly treasures is not congruent with the real pressures on medieval kings: the loss of control of parts of a kingdom was obviously to be avoided at all costs, but voluntary poverty is another trope associated with sanctity.

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A history of classical scholarship / Vol. 3 by John Sandys, Sir


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