Skip to Main Content

Caxton's Life of St. Benedict: Welcome

View a letterpress book created by students in the Medieval & Renaissance Minor at The College of St. Scholastica.

Pope Gregory the Great

Painting of Pope Gregory the Great

“Saint Gregory” [c. 540 – 603. Pope & Doctor of the Church]. Paint by Flemish artist Justus Van Ghent, 1410-1480(?). Image from Art Museum Image Gallery.

Creating Caxton's Life of St. Benedict

Decorative letter STUDENTS IN THE BOOK OF MEMORY, a Medieval & Renaissance Studies seminar offered at The College of St. Scholastic in 2010, created a soft-cover edition of Caxton's Life of St. Benedict, a compilation of miracles tales of St. Benedict from the medieval best-seller Legend Aurea (The Golden Legend). The Italian Dominican friar Jacobus de Voragine wrote The Golden Legend in the 13th century, a hagiography of saint’s lives. Voragine’s source of the stories of St. Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine monastic order, was the second book of the Dialogues, written by the 6th century Pope and Doctor of the Church, Gregory the Great (c. 540 – 604 A.D.) Students in the class hand-set the lead type for this edition and bound the books.  You are invited to view their work on this guide.

William Caxton (c. 1420-1491), the first printer of books in the English language, began printing in the Dutch city of Bruges in 1472. Four years later he moved his press to England. He translated and published The Golden Legend in 1483. Dr. William Hodapp, Fulbright scholar and Professor of English at The College of St. Scholastica, selected and translated from the Middle English the miracle tales from Caxton's printing. Caxton's Life of St. Benedict was hand-set in 16-pt Poliphilus, a 1923 Monotype facsimile of the work of the 15th century Venetian type-cutter Francesco Griffo, used by Aldus Manutius in 1499 to print the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a masterpiece of incunabula printing. Caxton's Aesop: Ten Fables was printed at The Recknynge Press of Duluth by Mr. Todd White, Printer, and Librarian at The College of St. Scholastica.

Decorative initial from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.

View Caxton's Life of St. Benedict

Saint Benedict of Nursia

Painting of St. Benedict

“Saint Benedict of Nursia [480-550], blessing his disciple Saint Maurus,” [Italian deacon,  d. 584]. Fresco by Spanish artist Juan Correa De Vivar, fl. 1539-1552. Image from Art Museum Image Gallery.