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Nothing in Anglo-Saxon pagan culture could withstand the impact of Christianity after the arrival of the disciples of Pope Gregory I in England. Professor Henderson's book investigates the ways in which the English, in the two centuries following their conversion, expressed their new convictions about this world, and the next. It deals with the impact of books and travel on the Anglo-Saxons, discusses personal sanctity and the manipulation of belief by the state, and identifies the positive role of art in a society constantly afflicted by wars and epidemics. Henderson combines new fragmentary visual and literary evidence in this carefully illustrated book to bring out the peculiar character, both sophisticated and naive, of the new Christian civilisation which began to flourish and, to a surprising degree, recreate that of sixth-century Italy in seventh- and eighth-century England.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: approaches to images in the early Christian world; 2. Secular impulses towards the Insular manuscript style; 3. Christian art: influx and impact; 4. The colour purple: a late-antique phenomenon and its Anglo-Saxon reflexes; 5. Holy men and heavenly beings; 6. Incentives towards artistic production in early Christian England: some case histories.

Reviews

'The achievement of this book is in its evocation of an entire world, its art, literature, and politics, and of the processes which changed it.' Medium Aevum

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