The White Cat and the Monk was a 2016 Christmas gift to me from my son and daughter-in-law. It’s a charmingly illustrated retelling of an old Irish poem, PangurBán, a lovely gift and a lovely addition to my bookshelves.
I wasn’t familiar with the poem, so the gift inspired – as such gifts are want to do – a few hours of pleasurable reading and research, an effort lightly akin to the endeavors of the anonymous but renown author of the poem. Pangur Bán was written by a 9th Century monk somewhere inside or in the vicinity of Reichenau Abby, which is on Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in the south of Germany.
The page of the Reichenau Primer on which Pangur Bán is written. It is now housed in St. Paul’s Abbey – a Benedictine Abby – in the Lavanttal, a market town in Carinthia, Austria. (public domain photograph)
The poet monk tells of a white cat who shares his work and…
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