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A thoughtful consideration of medieval narrative method


The subject of Writing Ravenna is the Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, composed by Agnellus Andreas, a priest of Ravenna, between 830 and 845 C.E. The Liber Pontificalis has often been studied as a source for ecclesiastical and art history, but hardly ever as a literary creation, in spite of its originality and importance.
Writing Ravenna is an attempt to deal with this work's literary significance and specifically with what it tells us about the creation and circulation of narrative in the Early Middle Ages. The book's first chapter analyzes the ways in which the local and international interests of the Ravenna clergy are reflected in the design, genre, and narrative rhetoric of the Liber. The second chapter characterizes the specific textuality, given that the Liber was composed for oral delivery. The final chapter offers translations of the four most interesting narrative sequences in the Liber, followed by full analyses of sources, narrative technique, and ideological aims.
Writing Ravenna will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars, including art historians, scholars of late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, religious historians, and literary critics.
Joaquin Martinez Pizarro is Associate Professor of English, State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is also the author of A Rhetoric of the Scene: Dramatic Narrative in the Early Middle Ages.

"This rich and interesting book will not only change how we all read Agnellus, but will also make us think harder and more carefully whenever we turn the pages of an early medieval narrator."
--Thomas F. X. Noble, University of Virginia, Journal of Medieval Latin, Volume 8, 1998

- Thomas F. X. Noble, University of Virginia

"Pizarro has presented a portrait of Andreas Agnellus and a reading of his works which is at best insightful, interesting, and challenging. He is particularly good at setting this somewhat quirky cleric in context and in exposing the innovative narrative strategies which he employed in this often perplexing work. Scholars of ninth-century Italy must henceforth consider Pizarro's critique when referring to Agnellus and the evidence which he provides."
--Medieval Review

- Medieval Review