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Medieval Cultures

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Medieval Cultures

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Constructing Medieval Sexuality

Karma Lochrie

This collection is the first to be devoted entirely to medieval sexuality informed by current theories of sexuality and gender. It brings together essays from various disciplinary perspectives-literary, theological, philosophical, medical, historical, and art historical-to consider how the Middle Ages defined, regulated, and represented sexual practices and desires.

Always considering sexuality in relation to gender, the body, and identity, the essays explore medieval sexuality as a historical construction produced by and embedded in the cultures and institutions of that period. Examining a range of medieval texts and images, the contributors explore the medieval understanding of sodomy, the historical construction of heterosexuality, the polymorphous erotics of female mysticism, and the intersections of sexuality with race, gender, and religion. This work not only offers new perspectives on the ways in which queer theory might inform our views of sexuality in medieval Europe, but also suggests that medieval constructions of sexuality may offer important contributions to both queer theory and the history of sexuality.

These essays, situated in the context of current debates, linger over various definitions of medieval sexuality; they speak to each other in their differences and their similarities to further productive thinking about the sometimes conflicting and always fascinating ways in which the Middle Ages regarded sex and sexuality.

Contributors: E. Jane Burns, U of North Carolina; Joan Cadden, U of California, Davis; Michael Camille, U of Chicago; Dyan Elliott, Indiana U; Louise O. Fradenburg, U of California, Santa Barbara; Mark D. Jordan, U of Notre Dame; Steven F. Kruger, CUNY.

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Drama And Resistance

Bodies, Goods, and Theatricality in Late Medieval England

Claire Sponsler

In Drama and Resistance, Claire Sponsler explores the intertwined histories of bodily subjectivity, commodity culture, and theatricality in late medieval England. In a fascinating consideration of popular drama in the period from 1350 to 1520, she argues that many types of performances during this time represented cultural evasions of the imposition of disciplinary power. The medieval theater was a social site where resistance, masked from the full scrutiny of authority by theatricality, was practiced, articulated, and enacted. Sponsler examines three key discourses of authoritarian bodily and commodity control-clothing laws, conduct literature, and Books of Hours-and pairs them with three kinds of theatrical performances that enact resistance to disciplining codes-Robin Hood performances, morality plays, and Corpus Christi pageants. She considers the contradictions and inconsistencies in the repressive official discourses and analyzes the ways in which the staging of forbidden acts like cross-dressing, social and sexual misbehavior, and violence against the body challenged these discourses. Drawing on a range of recent social theory, Drama and Resistance is an important contribution to medieval studies and the history of theater. It is a valuable resource for both students and enthusiasts alike. Medieval Cultures Series, volume 10

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Gender and Difference in the Middle Ages

Sharon Farmer

Nothing less than a rethinking of what we mean when we talk about "men" and "women" of the medieval period, this volume demonstrates how the idea of gender-in the Middle Ages no less than now-intersected in subtle and complex ways with other categories of difference. Responding to the insights of postcolonial and feminist theory, the authors show that medieval identities emerged through shifting paradigms-that fluidity, conflict, and contingency characterized not only gender, but also sexuality, social status, and religion. This view emerges through essays that delve into a wide variety of cultures and draw on a broad range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches. Scholars in the fields of history as well as literary and religious studies consider gendered hierarchies in western Christian, Jewish, Byzantine, and Islamic areas of the medieval world. Contributors: Daniel Boyarin, U of California, Berkeley; Ruth Mazo Karras, U of Minnesota; Mathew Kuefler, San Diego State U; Martha Newman, U of Texas; Kathryn M. Ringrose, U of California, San Diego; Elizabeth Robertson, U of Colorado; Everett Rowson, U of Pennsylvania; Michael Uebel, U of Kentucky; Ulrike Wiethaus, Wake Forest U.

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Glamorous Sorcery

Magic and Literacy in the High Middle Ages

David Rollo

Through the analysis of magic as a metaphor for the mysterious workings of writing, Glamorous Sorcery sheds light on the power attributed to language in shaping perceptions of the world and conferring status. David Rollo considers a series of texts produced in England and the Angevin Empire to reassess the value and nature of literacy in the High Middle Ages. He does this by scrutinizing metaphors that represent writing as a form of sorcery or magic in Latin texts and in the work of the Old French writer Benoît de Sainte-Maure. Rollo then examines the ambiguous representation of literacy as a skill that can be exploited as a commodity. Glamorous Sorcery demonstrates how closely interconnected certain types of vernacular and Latin writing were in this period. Uncovered through a series of illuminating, incisive, and often surprising close readings, these connections give us a new, more complex appraisal of the relationship between literacy, social status, and political power in a time and place in which various languages competed for cultural sovereignty—at a critical juncture in the cultural history of the West.

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Iconography and the Professional Reader

Kathryn Kerby-Fulton

Oxford Bodleian Library Douce 104 is the only extant manuscript of William Langland’s fourteenth- century poem Piers Plowman that is both illustrated and annotated, thereby providing material evidence of interpretation by professional readers-the artists, scribes, and annotators who constructed the work’s meaning in an early fifteenth-century Anglo-Irish colonial context. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton and Denise L. Despres examine this evidence for what it can tell us about the politics of late-medieval manuscript preparation and the scholarly direction of manuscript use. Kerby-Fulton and Despres reconstruct, in vital detail, the lineaments of the community of professional readers and the pressures that produced it. And they show us the roles played by the manuscript’s production team-scribe, illustrator, annotator, rubricator, and even an elusive commissioning patron-as all involved in the act of reading and interpreting: a picture that brings to life the ideologies and rivalries that affected bookshop practices. At the center of this picture is the Anglo-Irish scribal-illustrator of Douce 104, probably a clerk with Exchequer training working in the Dublin-Pale region of colonial Ireland. The authors reflect on the ways in which his experience with utility-grade legal, devotional, historical, and religious manuscripts, as well as the illustrated works of Giraldus Cambrensis and a fragmentary Anglo-Irish tradition, influenced his iconographic program and presentation of visionary experience. A study of great significance for medieval scholars, Iconography and the Professional Reader forcefully argues the importance of professional readers and utility-grade manuscripts in comprehending the meditative, mnemonic, performative, and subversive nature of late-medieval reading. Medieval Cultures Series, volume 15

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Imagining A Medieval English Nation

Kathy Lavezzo

During the late Middle Ages, the increasing expansion of administrative, legal, and military systems by a central government, together with the greater involvement of the commons in national life, brought England closer than ever to political nationhood. Examining a diverse array of texts—ranging from Latin and vernacular historiography to Lollard tracts, Ricardian poetry, and chivalric treatises—this volume reveals the variety of forms “England” assumed when it was imagined in the medieval West. These essays disrupt conventional thinking about the relationship between premodernity and modernity, challenge traditional preconceptions regarding the origins of the nation, and complicate theories about the workings of nationalism. Imagining a Medieval English Nation is not only a collection of new readings of major canonical works by leading medievalists, it is among the first book-length analyses on the subject and of critical interest. Contributors: Kathleen Davis, Bucknell U; L. O. Aranye Fradenburg, U of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew Galloway, Cornell U; Jill C. Havens, Baylor U; Peggy A. Knapp, Carnegie Mellon U; Larry Scanlon, Rutgers U; D. Vance Smith, Princeton U; Claire Sponsler, U of Iowa; Lynn Staley, Colgate U; Thorlac Turville-Petre, U of Nottingham.

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Interrogation Of Joan Of Arc

Karen Sullivan

The transcripts of Joan of Arc’s trial for heresy at Rouen in 1431 and the minutes of her interrogation have long been recognized as our best source of information about the Maid of Orleans. Historians generally view these legal texts as a precise account of Joan’s words and, by extension, her beliefs. Focusing on the minutes recorded by clerics, however, Karen Sullivan challenges the accuracy of the transcript. In The Interrogation of Joan of Arc, she re-reads the record not as a perfect reflection of a historical personality’s words, but as a literary text resulting from the collaboration between Joan and her interrogators. Sullivan provides an illuminating and innovative account of Joan’s trial and interrogation, placing them in historical, social, and religious context. In the fifteenth century, interrogation was a method of truth-gathering identified not with people like Joan, who was uneducated, but with clerics, like those who tried her. When these clerics questioned Joan, they did so as scholastics educated at the University of Paris, as judges and assistants to judges, and as pastors trained in hearing confessions. The Interrogation of Joan of Arc traces Joan’s conflicts with her interrogators not to differing political allegiances, but to fundamental differences between clerical and lay cultures. Sullivan demonstrates that the figure depicted in the transcripts as Joan of Arc is a complex, multifaceted persona that results largely from these cultural differences. Discerning and innovative, this study suggests a powerful new interpretive model and redefines our sense of Joan and her time.

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Medieval Crime and Social Control

Barbara A. Hanawalt

Crime is a matter of interpretation, and never was this truer than in the Middle Ages, when societies faced with new ideas and pressures were continually forced to rethink what a crime was-and what was a crime. This collection undertakes a thorough exploration of shifting definitions of crime and changing attitudes toward social control in medieval Europe. These essays-by leading specialists in European history and literature-reveal how various forces in medieval society interacted and competed in interpreting and influencing mechanisms for social control. They also demonstrate how well the different methods of history and literature combine to illuminate these developments. The essays show how the play with boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate actions took place not only in laws and courts, but also in the writing of social commentators such as John Fortescue and Jean Gerson, in the works of authors such as William Langland and Geoffrey Chaucer, and in popular literature such as sagas and romances. Drawing on a wide range of historical and literary sources-legal treatises, court cases, statutes, poems, romances, and comic tales-the contributors consider topics including fear of crime, rape and violence against women, revenge and condemnations of crime, learned dispute about crime and social control, and legal and political struggles over hunting rights. Their work shows how medieval society also defined its boundaries in contested spaces such as taverns and forests and in the different rules applying to the behavior and treatment of men and women. Contributors: Christopher Cannon, Oxford U; Elizabeth Fowler, Yale U; Louise O. Fradenburg, U of California, Santa Barbara; Claude Gauvard, Sorbonne; James H. Landman, U of North Texas; William Perry Marvin, Colorado State U; William Ian Miller, U of Michigan; Louise Mirrer, CUNY; Walter Prevenier, U of Ghent. ISBN 0-8166-3168-9 Cloth $49.95xx ISBN 0-8166-3169-7 Paper $19.95x 268 pages 5 7/8 x 9 January Medieval Cultures Series, volume 16 Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press

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Medieval Identity Machines

Jeffrey J. Cohen

In Medieval Identity Machines, Jeffrey J. Cohen examines the messiness, permeability, and perversity of medieval bodies, arguing that human identity always exceeds the limits of the flesh. Combining critical theory with a rigorous reading of medieval texts, Cohen asks if the category “human” isn’t too small to contain the multiplicity of identities. As such, this book is the first to argue for a “posthuman” Middle Ages and to make extensive use of the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze to rethink the medieval. Among the topics that Cohen covers are the passionate bond between men and horses in chivalric training; the interrelation of demons, celibacy, and colonialism in an Anglo-Saxon saint’s life; Lancelot’s masochism as envisioned by Chrétien de Troyes; the voice of thunder echoing from Margery Kempe; and the fantasies that sustained some dominant conceptions of race. This tour of identity—in all its fragility and diffusion—illustrates the centrality of the Middle Ages to theory as it enhances our understanding of self, embodiment, and temporality in the medieval world.

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Medieval Masculinities

Regarding Men in the Middle Ages

Clare A. Lees

Ranging from questions of epic violence and heroic embodiments of manhood to constructions of bachelorhood, husbandry, and sainthood, Medieval Masculinities is the first synthesis of medieval and gender studies to focus on masculinities. Harry Brod, editor of The Making of Masculinities "We should not be working [exclusively] on the subjected sex any more than a historian of class can focus exclusively on peasants."-Natalie Zemon Davis, 1975 In the years since Natalie Davis made this remark, men's studies, and gender studies along with it, has earned its place in scholarship. What is often missing from such studies, however, is the insight that the concept of gender in general, and that of masculinity in particular, can be understood only in relation to individual societies, examined at specific historical and cultural moments. A brilliant application of this insight, Medieval Masculinities is the first full-length collection to explore the issues of men's studies and contemporary theories of gender within the context of the Middle Ages. Interdisciplinary and multicultural, the essays range from matrimony in medieval Italy to bachelorhood in Renaissance Venice, from friars and saints to the male animal in the fables of Marie de France, from manhood in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, and the Roman d'Eneas to men as "other," whether Muslim or Jew, in medieval Castilian epic and ballad. The authors are especially concerned with cultural manifestations of masculinity that transcend this particular historical period-idealized gender roles, political and economic factors in structuring social institutions, and the impact of masculinist ideology in fostering and maintaining power. Together, their essays constitute an important reassessment of traditional assumptions within medieval studies as well as a major contribution to the evolving study of gender. Contributors Christopher Baswell, Barnard College Vern L. Bullough, SUNY, Buffalo Stanley Chojnacki, Michigan State University John Coakley, New Brunswick Theological Seminary Thelma Fenster, Fordham University Clare Kinney, University of Virginia Clare A. Lees, University of Pennsylvania Jo Ann McNamara, Hunter College Louise Mirrer, Fordham University Harriet Spiegel, California State University, Chico Susan Mosher Stuard, Haverford College

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