Albertanus of Brescia : the pursuit of happiness in the early thirteenth century /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Powell, James M.
Imprint:Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c1992.
Description:xii, 147 p. : facsim. ; 24 cm.
Series:Middle Ages series
Format: Print Book
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Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. [131]-141) and index.
Review by Choice Review

Powell's book on Albertanus of Brescia is a work of social-intellectual history, not legal history, even though Albertanus was a legal professional (causidicus). Powell wishes to show that Albertanus's written works (three treatises and five sermons) are important not only for their influence on such literary figures as Brunetto Latini, Geoffrey Chaucer, and the M'enagier de Paris, but for the originality of Albertanus's thoughts about the nature of the society in which he lived. He saw violence created by factions as the chief problem of the early 13th-century commune. For the moment, order had broken down, creating a power vacuum into which factions, dominated by the aristocracy and not representing any particular ideological or economic group, moved to achieve local control where the powerful oppressed the weak. Powell argues that Albertanus was a social theorist of considerable originality; that in his work one can detect a kind of consensus theory of society. Rule (in the sense of monastic rule) must precede law. Upper-division undergraduates and above. K. F. Drew; Rice University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review