David Williams shows that images associated with saints are not simply illustrations of written accounts, nor are the gestures, prayers, and liturgical practices of devotees of saints' cults simply derivative of them. Rather, images and enactments expand and complete the text, adding visual and dramatic dimensions. Williams demonstrates his ideas through discussion and case studies of three saints: the biblical figure of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin; the medieval English martyr Saint Thomas Becket; and Saint Maximillian Mary Kolbe, who gave his life to save that of another in the Auschwitz concentration camp. A remarkable study of text, image, and enactment, Saints Alive presents a complete study of the depiction of saints that will change the way they are understood.
David Williams is professor of English, St. Paul's College, University of Manitoba, and the author of several novels and critical books, including Imagined Nations: Reflections on Media in Canadian Fiction.