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Excerpt from English Monasticism: Its Rise and Influence
This work is not an endeavour to delineate the history of monasticism in England, but to examine it under its two great phases, the Benedictine and Franciscan, and to trace the influence it exerted upon the art, literature, and social life of the country during its development.
The career of Glastonbury Abbey, the oldest monastery in England, is selected, to be described collaterally with this investigation, in order that a picture may be given of the interior life of the cloister, with its glories and its sorrows, as it was played out in that celebrated institution.
A complete history of the monastic orders in England would be a great acquisition to literature. This want, felt by Coleridge, who advised Southey to write such a work, still exists; and should the effort to trace a few results of monasticism upon English life and culture only induce some one with sufficient leisure and ability to undertake the more important task, the author will not have laboured in vain.
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