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 (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 (q.v.)
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, (Euvres poetiques 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. 1888; Histoire litteraire
de la France, xv.39-45; E. Misset, Poesie rythmique du moyen age;
essai...sur les oeuvres poetiques d'Adam de St. Victor, Paris, 1882.