Golden Legend, The

Golden Legend, The,

collection of saints' lives written in the 13th cent. by Jacobus da VaragineJacobus da Varagine
, c.1230–1298, Italian hagiographer, b. Varazze (then Voraggio), near Savona; also known as Jacobus de Voragine. He became a Dominican in 1244, was provincial of Lombardy, and after 1292 was archbishop of Genoa.
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. Originally entitled Legenda sanctorum [readings in the lives of the saints], it soon came to be called Legenda aurea [the golden legend] because of its popularity, which continued until the Reformation. It is a saints' calendar, with an introduction for each division of the year and a section on each great feast day. It is a compilation of wonder stories, presenting the ideals of saintly living; not critical or historical in purpose, it is a devotional book rather than a collection of biographies. It was early translated from Latin into the vernacular languages, and William Caxton published one of the English translations. The fantastic nature of some of the stories and the simple, graceless style of the Latin brought the scorn of Renaissance humanists. Yet the immense popularity the book enjoyed is evident from the wide influence it had on medieval literature. An excellent, somewhat abridged adaptation by Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger appeared in 1941.
References in periodicals archive ?
Derived from the 13th-century Golden Legend, the saints include Dominican-clad individuals bringing the message of faith into contemporary 14th-century consciousness.
We might think also of the criticisms levelled at Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, the hugely popular thirteenth-century collection of saints' tales that was famously condemned by Juan Luis Vives as "written by a man with a mouth of iron and a heart of lead.
For a generation less than thirty years removed from devotion to the saint-heroes of The Golden Legend, the Mirror reflected another type of endurance to reflect on -- secular and miserable but existing as linguistic artefacts that would surface from time because it was language that was, so to speak, canonizing them.