Definitions

Abbey

Abbey

[ab-ee]
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911, American illustrator and painter, b. Philadelphia, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Employed by Harper & Brothers, he was sent to England, where he gathered materials for his illustration of Herrick's poems and other works. His illustration of Shakespeare is usually considered his best work. The Quest of the Holy Grail (a series of wall panels in the Boston Public Library) is perhaps his most famous painting. He was official painter of the coronation of Edward VII.
abbey, monastic house, especially among Benedictines and Cistercians, consisting of not less than 12 monks or nuns ruled by an abbot or abbess. Many abbeys were originally self-supporting. In the Benedictine expansion after the 8th cent., abbeys were often important centers of learning and peaceful arts and, like Fulda, were sometimes the nuclei of future towns. The buildings surround a church and include a dormitory, refectory, and guest house, all surrounded by a wall. The courtyard, derived from the Roman atrium, was a usual feature, as was the cloister or arcade surrounding the court. Cluniac abbeys were always ornate, Cistercian ones notably bare. The Carthusians with their special polity developed an altogether different structure called the charterhouse.

The ruins of Fountains Abbey, a Cistercian monastery founded in the 12th century, near Ripon, North elipsis

Complex of buildings housing a monastery or convent under the direction of an abbot or abbess, serving the needs of a self-contained religious community. The first abbey was Monte Cassino in Italy, founded in 529 by St. Benedict of Nursia. The cloister linked the most important elements of an abbey together. The dormitory was often built over the dining hall on the eastern side of the cloister and linked to the central church. The western side of the cloister provided for public dealings, with the gatehouse controlling the only opening to the outer, public courtyard. On the southern side of the cloister were a central kitchen, brewery, and workshops. The novitiate and infirmary were housed in a building with its own chapel, bathhouse, dining hall, kitchen, and garden. In the 12th–13th century, many abbeys were built throughout Europe, especially in France.

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Church in London. It was originally a Benedictine monastery. Edward the Confessor built a Norman-style church (consecrated 1065) on the site of an older church there; this was pulled down in 1245 by Henry III (except for the nave) and replaced with the present Gothic-style abbey church. The rebuilding of the nave was begun by 1376 and continued intermittently until Tudor times. The chapel of Henry VII (begun circa 1503) is noted for its exquisite fan vaulting. Elizabeth I refounded the church as the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in Westminster (1560). The western towers (1745), by Nicholas Hawksmoor and John James, were the last addition. Every British sovereign since William the Conqueror has been crowned in the abbey except Edward V and Edward VIII. Many are also buried there, and it is crowded with the tombs and memorials to other famous Britons. Part of the southern transept is known as the Poets' Corner, while the northern transept has memorials to statesmen.

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Dublin theatre. It developed from the Irish Literary Theatre, founded in 1899 by William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory to foster Irish drama. After moving the troupe to a renovated theatre on Abbey Street in 1904, they codirected its productions with John Millington Synge, staged their own plays, and commissioned works by Sean O'Casey and others. Important premieres included Synge's The Playboy of the Western World (1907) and O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars (1926). The Abbey became the first state-subsidized theatre in the English-speaking world in 1924. A fire destroyed the original playhouse in 1951, and a new theatre was built in 1966.

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