« Adam, Melchior Adam of Saint Victor Adam the Scotchman »

Adam of Saint Victor

ADAM OF SAINT VICTOR: One of the most important of the liturgical poets of the Middle Ages; his nationality is described by the Latin word Brito (“Breton” ?), and he was canon of St. Victor of Paris in the second half of the twelfth century. From his sequence upon Thomas Becket of Canterbury it is inferred that he survived the latter’s canonization (1174). His poems do not include all of his writings, but are the most important. From the ninth century it was customary to set words (called prosa and sequentia) to the melodies 37 (jubili, sequentia) with which the Hallelujah of the gradual in the mass closed (see Sequence). In the twelfth century a more artificial style of composition, according to strict rules, took the place of the freer rhythms of the earlier time, and for this period of sequence composition Adam has an importance comparable to that of Notker for the former period. He shows a real talent in his mastery of form; and his best pieces contain true poetry, although as concerns power to excite the emotions and the higher flights of the poetic fancy, his compositions are not equal to a Salve caput, Stabat mater, or Lauda Sion.

S. M. Deutsch.

Bibliography: L. Gautier, Œuvres poétiques d’Adam de St. Victor, 2 vols., Paris, 1858 (complete and critical ed., with life in vol. i.; 3d ed., 1894), reprinted in MPL, cxcvi, 1421-1534 (Eng. transl. by D. S. Wrangham, The Liturgical Poetry of Adam of St. Victor, 3 vols., London, 1881); K. Bartsch, Die lateinischen Sequenzen des Mittelalters, pp. 170 sqq., Rostock, 1868; Histoire littéraire de la France, xv. 39-45; E. Misset, Poésie rythmique du moyen âge; essai . . . sur les œuvres poétiques d’Adam de St. Victor, Paris, 1882.

« Adam, Melchior Adam of Saint Victor Adam the Scotchman »
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