Mont-Saint Michel and Chartres
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Henry Adams' MONT-SAINT MICHEL AND CHARTRES intellectual history at its best, dealing with complex ideas in an attractive and lucid literary style. Adams' insights are impressive as he delves into complex topics such as Gothic Architecture, Medieval poetry and mysticsim, and Scholastic Philosophy with clarity and ease. . Adams's translations of Medieval French and Latin are good, giving those who are not familiar with these languages a better understanding of the poetry. The last section of the book deals with the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Adams careful treatment of Aquinas' thought is worth the price of the book. Adams gives the Angelic Doctor high praise for both his clear thinking and liberality. Adams also effectively deals with the liberality of the Medieval Catholic authorities who canonized so many men whose views were apparently contradictory.
one had best be civil towards the idols of the forum. Abélard would find most of his old problems sensitive to his touch today. Time has settled few or none of the essential points of dispute. Science hesitates, more visibly than the Church ever did, to decide once for all whether Unity or Diversity is ultimate law; whether order or chaos is the governing rule of the Universe, if Universe there is; whether anything except phenomena exists. Even in matters more vital to society, one dares not
Universal with the Individual, of Unity with Multiplicity, of God and Nature, which had broken the neck of every philosophy ever invented; which had ruined William of Champeaux and was to ruin Descartes; this evolution of the Finite from the Infinite was accomplished. The supreme triumph was as easily effected by Thomas Aquinas as it was to be again effected, four hundred years later, by Spinoza. He had merely to assert the fact: — “It is so! it cannot be otherwise!” “For the thousandth and
ether shuts out the corruption and pollution to come, — the Valois and Bourbons, the Occams and Hobbes’s, the Tudors and the Medicis, of an enlightened Europe. The theology turns always into art at the last, and ends in aspiration. The spire justifies the church. In Saint Thomas’s Church, man’s free-will was the aspiration to God, and he treated it as the architects of Chartres and Laon had treated their famous flèches. The square foundation-tower, the expression of God’s power in act, — his
gave of the annual pilgrimage to the Mount, which is commonly taken to be more or less like what he saw every year on the Archangel’s Day, and what had existed ever since the Normans became Christian in 912: — Li jorz iert clers e sanz grant vent The day was clear, without much wind. Les meschines e les vallez The maidens and the varlets Chascuns d’els dist verz ou sonnez Each of them said verse or song; Neis li viellart revunt chantant Even the old people go singing; De leece funt tuit
prove; it stares one in the face. Within and without, one feels that the twelfth-century spirit is respected and preserved with the same religious feeling which obliged the architect to injure his own work by sparing that of his grandfathers. Conspicuous, then, in the west front are two feelings: — respect for the twelfth-century work, and passion for the rose fenestration; both subordinated to the demand for light. If it worries you to have to believe that these three things are in fact one;