The collection of folk tales, legends and narratives about the life of Francis of Assisi known as the Fioretti, or Little Flowers, appeared in manuscripts about 75 years after the saint's death, sometime in the early 14th century. As a number of complete translations already exist, Hopcke and Schwartz intend "to highlight Francis of Assisi as a spiritual teacher in the model of Christ by way of storytelling in plain, everyday language." They succeed in telling the tales of Francis's ministry particularly his dedication to the poor and the sick in readable and simple language for contemporary American readers. The introductions to each story serve as helpful commentaries, further translating the wisdom and spirit of Franciscan literature. Because the translators include roughly half of the 53 stories in the original collection picking only the stories that "clearly and forcefully present some sort of discrete spiritual teaching by Francis himself" some readers, especially those familiar with earlier translations, may miss the other tales, like how Christ appeared to Brother Masseo or how Brother Rufino was one of three chosen souls. However, the compact and nicely translated collection is sure to accomplish its mission of presenting the life of this beloved saint. (Dec.) [Page 53]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
This collection of folk tales, legends, and narratives about the life of Francis of Assisi and his followers appeared about seventy-five years after the saint’s death, in the early fourteenth century. The writings have remained popular ever since due to their beauty and charm, and because they are the nearest thing to a biography of Francis that exists. They are the source of many of the most famous stories about Francis—including the accounts of his preaching to the birds and of his receiving of the stigmata—and they are based on stories that circulated about him in the years after his death.Robert Hopcke and Paul Schwartz provide the first truly new translation of the Fioretti in forty years, and in doing so they bring the spiritual classic up to date, using contemporary language to show Francis to be a living, breathing human being who walked the streets of Assisi in a state of spiritual, physical, and social enlightenment, through his own existence making Christ real in the world.The translators have also edited the work to present the stories that most powerfully present Francis’s spirit and teaching.