Memoria, the liturgical commemoration of the dead, is one of the best-studied phenomena in medieval history. From difficult sources such as ‘Books of Life’ and necrologies, they have shown how physically absent living and dead could in some sense be made present through the naming of their names in a liturgical setting, and how liturgy created real communities in which living and dead were drawn together. Memorial sermons are one aspect of this liturgical ‘memory’ of the dead, for they belonged to funerals and other memorial services, nevertheless their evidence transcends the history of Memoria in that these sermons could broaden their scope to discuss a wide range of topics relating to this life and the next. The relevance of research on Memoria to this study became evident only when it was virtually complete. The course of this investigation has mirrored a wider movement of fashion in historical writing.
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