He received his early education at the Benedictine abbey of Flavigny (Flaviacum) or St Germer, where he studied with great zeal, devoting himself at first to the secular poets, an experience which left its imprint on his works; later changing to theology, through the influence of Anselm of Bec, afterwards of Canterbury.
In 1104, he was chosen to be head of the abbey of Notre Dame de Nogent and henceforth took a prominent part in ecclesiastical affairs. His autobiography (De vita sua, sive monodiarum), written towards the close of his life, gives many picturesque glimpses of his time and the customs of his country. The description of the commune of Laon is an historical document of the first order. The same local colour lends charm to his history of the first crusade (Gesta Dei per Francos) written about 1110. But the history is largely a paraphrase, in ornate style, of the Gesta Francorum of an anonymous Norman author; and when he comes to the end of his authority, he allows his book to degenerate into an undigested heap of notes and anecdotes. At the same time his high birth and his position in the church give his work an occasional value.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.