The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

VIII. The Norman Conquest

§ 4. Lanfranc

The Christian learning of the west received fresh impetus in the middle of the eleventh century at the hands of Lanfranc, who made the monastic school at Bec a centre famous for its teaching, and who, when he came to England, to work for church and state, did not forget his earlier care for books and learning. It was under Lanfranc’s direction that Osbern, the Canterbury monk, wrote his lives of earlier English ecclesiastics, of St. Dunstan and St. Alphege and St. Odo; and he gave generously to the building of St. Albans, a monastery which, under the abbacy of Lanfranc’s well-beloved kinsman Paul, encouraged the spirit of letters in its specially endowed scriptorium, and so led the way to the conversion of annalist into historian illustrated in the person of Matthew Paris.

A consideration of the writings of Lanfranc himself falls outside our province; they consist of letters, commentaries and treatises on controversial theology. Prior to his appointment as archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc had been mainly responsible for the refutation of the “spiritual” views concerning the Eucharist held by Berengarius, who, following the footsteps of John Scotus (Erigena) opposed the doctrine of Real Presence. Lanfranc’s deputation helped largely to strengthen the universal acceptance of the doctrine of transubstantiation throughout the Roman church; and, as the chief officer of the English church, in the years of its renovation under William, his influence could but tend towards placing English religious life and thought and, therefore, English religious literature, more in harmony with the religious system of Europe.