Sacred Biographies

How did the telling of medieval saints’ lives evolve? Who read these accounts, and how did they affect the lives of ordinary people? According to Thomas Heffernan, there are thousands of biographies of medieval saints. In the Middle Ages, they provided important material for the liturgy. To modern scholars, medieval saints’ lives are noteworthy as early examples of vernacular literature.

At the time of this interview, Heffernan, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1986-87), was professor of English at the University of Tennessee.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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