The autobiographical and confessional writings of Abelard, Heloise and the Archpoet were concerned with religious authenticity, spiritual sincerity and their opposite - fictio, a composite of hypocrisy and dissimulation, lying and irony. How and why moral identity could be feigned or falsified were seen as issues of primary importance, and Peter Godman here restores them to the prominence they once occupied in twelfth-century thought. This book is an account of the relationship between ethics and literature in the work of the most famous authors of the Latin Middle Ages. Combining conceptual analysis with close attention to style and form, it offers a major contribution to the history of the medieval conscience.
• Incisive new analysis of the works of the most famous authors of the Latin Middle Ages • Novel account of the relationship between ethics and literature • Major contribution to the history of the philosophical discourse of ethics
Preface and acknowledgements; 1. Moral moments; 2. The neurotic and the penitent; 3. True, false, and feigned penance; 4. Fame without conscience; 5. Cain and conscience; 6. Feminine paradoxes; 7. Sincere hypocrisy; 8. The poetical conscience; Envoi: spiritual sophistry.