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FRANCIS AND HIS ‘CANTICLE OF THE SUN’ REASSESSED – BRIAN MALONEY

How welcome to find this book researched and written by an Anglican Tertiary from the York Area. Brian Moloney gives us a masterly interpretation of our Patron from his particular vantage point, that of a medieval scholar with a deep understanding of Italian history, culture and language, all of which he incorporates into a detailed study of the Canticle. And so much more.

He writes with authority about the historical setting of Francis’ life and for me in particular he highlights a more credible Francis Bernadone with those earlier ambitions and passion to be a knight who becomes transformed initially towards the Lady Poverty. This highlights his marked courtesy towards all creatures, recognising them as sister and brother, and further, into the five wounds of the stigmata, the ‘coat of arms’ of the king.

It is Francis’ sheer love of scripture, the psalms, the writings of Paul and John and of course the Gospels, that so strongly permeate into his own liturgical writings and prayers and through into the subject poem of this book. Brian then is able to examine the Canticle in some really fascinating chapters on composition, structures, and finally a phrase by phrase commentary. Theme and style, language and content, he writes, are perfectly fused into a marvellous artistic unity.

This American publication is part of the New Middle Ages series. It is expensive to buy but there is the alternative of persuading your local library to purchase it!

Damian SSF