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  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781635420067
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $59.99

Trace and Aura

The Recurring Lives of St. Ambrose of Milan



From one of the foremost medievalists of our time, a groundbreaking work on history and memory that goes well beyond the life of this influential saint.

Elected bishop of Milan by popular acclaim in 374, Ambrose went on to become one of the four original Doctors of the Church. There is much more to this book, however, than the compelling story of the bishop who baptized Saint Augustine in the fourth century. Trace and Aura investigates how a crucial figure from the past can return in different guises over and over again, in a city that he inspired and shaped through his beliefs and political convictions. His recurring lives actually span more than ten centuries, from the fourth to the fourteenth.

In the process of following Ambrose’s various reincarnations, Patrick Boucheron draws compelling connections between religion, government, tyranny, the Italian commune, Milan’s yearning for autonomy, and many other aspects of this fascinating relationship between a city and its spiritual mentor who strangely seems to resist being manipulated by the needs and ambitions of those in power.

  • Published: 16 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781635420067
  • Imprint: Other Press
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 544
  • RRP: $59.99

Praise for Trace and Aura

Praise for Machiavelli:   “[Boucheron] makes a case for Machiavelli as a misunderstood and villainized figure with political insights that can be applied to modern times.” —New York Times Book Review   “To reframe our understanding of Machiavelli, Mr. Boucheron asks, Who was he writing for?…If The Prince was meant to help ordinary people understand what their leaders were up to, then it is not a handbook for the power-crazed but a means of stopping them.” —Wall Street Journal   “This wise, witty, razor-sharp anatomy of Machiavelli demonstrates why the most notorious thinker of the Renaissance is the perfect companion for our own time.” —Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern   “An elegant introduction to this disturbing, incisive, many-sided thinker—and a reminder of why we must read him right now.” —Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne

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