Wala, abbot of Corbie, played a major role in the rebellions against Emperor Louis the Pious, especially in 830, for which he was exiled. Radbert defended his beloved abbot, known to his monks as Arsenius, against accusations of infidelity in an 'epitaph' (funeral oration), composed as a two-book conversation between himself and other monks of Corbie. Whereas the restrained first book of Radbert's Epitaphium Arsenii was written not long after Wala's death in 836, the polemical second book was added some twenty years later. This outspoken sequel covers the early 830s, yet it mostly addresses the political issues of the 850s, as well as Radbert's personal predicament. In Epitaph for an Era, an absorbing study of this fascinating text, Mayke de Jong examines the context of the Epitaphium's two books, the use of hindsight as a rhetorical strategy, and the articulation of notions of the public good in the mid-ninth century.
Thomas F. X. Noble - University of Notre Dame, Indiana
Patrick J. Geary - Institute for Advanced Study, New Jersey
Janet L. Nelson - King’s College London
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