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A Monks Confession: the Memoirs of Guilbert of Nogent - Essay Example

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The collection of chapters and books in A Monk's Confession: The Memoirs of Guibert of Nogent is a valuable piece of autobiographical writing authoring by the Benedictine Monk Guibert of Nogent himself. He focuses mostly on an account of his life from childhood to adulthood, and gives many insightful details into the life of both a medieval man as well as a monk on the inside of the Benedictine communes…
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A Monks Confession: the Memoirs of Guilbert of Nogent
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Download file to see previous pages What is most significant about his viewpoint is that it reveals the though process of many people like him, and thus how people of his time perceived the First Crusade. The first section of the book is the autobiography of Guibert's early life. What is most striking about this section is how he seems to have an extreme respect and focus on his mother, as well as a great amount of praise to God for all the gifts He bestowed upon Guibert. This includes a praise of God for his own birth, which he claims took seven years of conception efforts and culminated in an appeal to the Virgin Mary. Besides his mother, he also writes early on about his tutor. He describes the tutor as being harsh in many ways, but also as having a trait of incompetence. Nonetheless, he seems to take to this man, especially in the absence of his deceased father. He describes the man at a point as a friend, but also says that both he and his tutor were equally ignorant of the topics of instruction. As he progressed in age, he dealt with the incompetency of his tutor, his beatings at school, and yet hiding it from his mother in hopes to impress her. He glorifies the idea of entering the abbey as he describes the stories of other men, namely of Everard of Breteuil who leaves his life of power and fashion to seek something spiritual. Guibert describes Everard as being one of the best examples of a man who converts to the more religious lifestyle, and alongside his mother and his tutor, this man enters the pantheon of characters that Guibert reveres and uses for inspiration. His focus as he goes through these characters culminates in the praise of the monastic life. He credits many of these noble men who renounced the world, renounced wives, and renounced wealth as the men who started the monastic movement. This is not a strong argument, when compared with the real history of monasticism, but we can see that it shows that he recognized a strongly monastic movement in medieval France which he regarded as novel and revolutionary. Guibert describes how many men of all ages rushed to join the movement. Even his mother is described as having a conversation, for he praises her ability to remain chaste for so long and resist temptation and abuse. Guibert's mother, in his continuous passages describing her story, is described much in the way of a saint as well as a nun. She enters a convent, struggles with the devil, with evil men, and places all her trust and faith in God. Through this story, Guibert seems to describe his own birth as a miracle and a direct product of saintly action, self-less love, and divine intervention. This may seem quite pompous the the readers, but it also helps to further establish his perspective as a deeply religious man who seems the hand of God in everything—hence his later writings being full of the same religious theme. Guibert's glorification of his life story comes more into focus as he describes his ambition of joining the local Abbey and becoming a monk. We see that the colorful tale of his mother's labor with him goes on to, quite literally, give birth to another tale of saintly struggle. Guibert mentions discussion with both God and devil, and finds that his decision to serve God in the abbey enrages the devil. His poor behavior, which served as an obstacle to his progression through the ranks of the scholarly monks, is also attributed to the devil ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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