Berceo's 'Vida de Santa Oria'
Text, Translation and Commentary

Anthony Lappin

Legenda (General Series)


1 November 2000  •  330pp

ISBN: 1-900755-17-3 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


Oria lived as an anchoress in the major monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla in La Rioja. Her life was marked by spectacular visions which promised her own salvation and defined her relationship to Christ and his Church. These visions were recorded by an eleventh-century contemporary of hers, but his Latin work, now lost, is preserved only in the Romance versification by Gonzalo de Berceo. This edition of the Vida de Santa Oria (c.1260), Berceo's last and finest work, seeks to provide a definitive text of the poem. The commentary not only discusses the initial meaning of the visions to Oria herself and to those who surrounded her but reconstructs Berceo's own motives in the handling of his material and the connections between his poem and his earlier works.

Anthony Lappin is Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Manchester and is currently working on a major study of the cult of Santo Domingo de Silos from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries.


  • ‘While chiefly important for providing the specialist with a reliable version of the VSO, it also gives a detailed commentary on the text: both of these will now be indispensable tools for the Berceo scholar. The English translation will usefully serve to make the Vida de Santa Oria accessible to scholars of other disciplines.’ — Gregory Peter Andrachuk, Modern Language Review 97.3, 2002, 743-5 (full text online)
  • ‘The problems presented to a modern editor of Berceo's Vida de Santa Oria are daunting. The text survives in a unique medieval copy [which] appears to have been made, at the most conservative estimate, more than a century after the death of its author... Lappin keeps Berceo's text clean and readable by relegating textual notes to the end, and supports the text with over a hundred pages of informed and detailed critical commentary... There is much to be said for [Lappin's] essentially pragmatic editorial approach. It honestly confronts the problem of a late or corrupt copy-text and does not assume, as has happened so often in the past, that an author who has become part of the canon is therefore free from literary sin and incapable of omission or logical inconsistency. Lappin's Berceo emerges as an immaculate composer of verse but a vulnerable story-teller.’ — Ian Macpherson, Bulletin of Spanish Studies LXXX, 2003, 112-13
  • ‘Should become the standard reference for all future research on the Vida and, indeed, a touchstone for studying all of Berceo's hagiographies.’ — E. Michael Gerli, Speculum 2003, 2003, 936-8
  • ‘Un buon lavoro, che risolve sicuramente alcuni problemi editoriali e interpretavi.’ — Eduardo Blasco Ferrer, Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 120/2, 2004, 411-14
  • ‘The publication of a full lenght study and edition of one of Berceo's hagiographic works is a rare event; even rarer is the appearance of an English translation. But this book is not likely to be remembered for these reasons. More likely is that it will be read for what it is: a radical, but flawed, attempt to breathe new life into Oria scholarship.’ — Andrew M. Beresford, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies Volume 80, n.1, January 2003, 119-20

Bibliography entry:

Lappin, Anthony, Berceo's 'Vida de Santa Oria': Text, Translation and Commentary (Legenda, 2000)

First footnote reference: 35 Anthony Lappin, Berceo's 'Vida de Santa Oria': Text, Translation and Commentary (Legenda, 2000), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Lappin, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Lappin, Anthony. 2000. Berceo's 'Vida de Santa Oria': Text, Translation and Commentary (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Lappin 2000: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Lappin 2000: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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