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Vol. 29 (2000) through current issue
La corÃ³nica is a refereed journal published every spring and fall by the Modern Language Associationâs Division on Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. It publishes groundbreaking articles written in English or Spanish on topics in medieval Spanish cultural studies, literature, and historical linguistics. Devoted to Hispanomedievalism in its broadest sense, La corÃ³nica also welcomes scholarship that transcends the linguistic and/or cultural borders of Spanish and explores the interconnectedness of those languages and cultures that coexisted in medieval Iberia. In addition to articles, La corÃ³nica features book reviews, reports, discussion forums, professional notices, and special thematic issues.
The Medieval Uses of Secrecy
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book
In Covert Operations, Karma Lochrie brings the categories and cultural meanings of secrecy in the Middle Ages out into the open. Isolating five broad areas—confession, women's gossip, medieval science and medicine, marriage and the law, and sodomitic discourse—Lochrie examines various types of secrecy and the literary texts in which they are played out. She reads texts as central to Middle English studies as the "Parson's Tale," the "Miller's Tale," the Secretum Secretorum, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as well as a broad range of less familiar works, including a gynecological treatise and a little-known fifteenth-century parody in which gossip and confession become one. As she does so she reveals a great deal about the medieval past—and perhaps just as much about the early development of the concealments that shape the present day.
Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks
As the Ottoman Empire advanced westward from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, humanists responded on a grand scale, leaving behind a large body of fascinating yet understudied works. These compositions included Crusade orations and histories; ethnographic, historical, and religious studies of the Turks; epic poetry; and even tracts on converting the Turks to Christianity. Most scholars have seen this vast literature as atypical of Renaissance humanism. Nancy Bisaha now offers an in-depth look at the body of Renaissance humanist works that focus not on classical or contemporary Italian subjects but on the Ottoman Empire, Islam, and the Crusades. Throughout, Bisaha probes these texts to reveal the significant role Renaissance writers played in shaping Western views of self and other.
Medieval concepts of Islam were generally informed and constrained by religious attitudes and rhetoric in which Muslims were depicted as enemies of the faith. While humanist thinkers of the Renaissance did not move entirely beyond this stance, Creating East and West argues that their understanding was considerably more complex, in that it addressed secular and cultural issues, marking a watershed between the medieval and modern. Taking a close look at a number of texts, Bisaha expands current notions of Renaissance humanism and of the history of cross-cultural perceptions. Engaging both traditional methods of intellectual history and more recent methods of cross-cultural studies, she demonstrates that modern attitudes of Western societies toward other cultures emerged not during the later period of expansion and domination but rather as a defensive intellectual reaction to a sophisticated and threatening power to the East.
Enlightenment Culture and the Inhuman
"An important contribution to studies of eighteenth-century culture and
to literary history and theory and for those with an interest in horror,
sentimentality, the invention of the modern individual, and ethics of 'the human.'"
-Daniel Cottom, David A. Burr Chair of Letters, University of Oklahoma
Cruel Delight: Enlightenment Culture and the Inhuman investigates the fascination with joyful malice in eighteenth-century Europe and how this obsession helped inform the very meaning of humanity. Steintrager reveals how the understanding of cruelty moved from an inexplicable, apparently paradoxical "inhuman" pleasure in the misfortune of others to an eminently human trait stemming from will and freedom. His study ranges from ethical philosophy and its elaboration of moral monstrosity as the negation of sentimental benevolence, to depictions of cruelty-of children mistreating animals, scientists engaged in vivisection, and the painful procedures of early surgery-in works such as William Hogarth's "The Four Stages of Cruelty," to the conflict between humane sympathy and radical liberty illustrated by the writings of the Marquis de Sade. In each instance, the wish to deny a place for cruelty in an enlightened world reveals a darker side: a deep investment in depravity, a need to reenact brutality in the name of combating it, and, ultimately, an erotic attachment to suffering.
Annotated Documents in Translation from Innocent III to the Fall of Acre, 1187-1291
In 1213, Pope Innocent III issued his letter Vineam Domini, thundering against the enemies of Christendom—the "beasts of many kinds that are attempting to destroy the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth"—and announcing a General Council of the Latin Church as redress. The Fourth Lateran Council, which convened in 1215, was unprecedented in its scope and impact, and it called for the Fifth Crusade as what its participants hoped would be the final defense of Christendom. For the first time, a collection of extensively annotated and translated documents illustrates the transformation of the crusade movement.
Crusade and Christendom explores the way in which the crusade was used to define and extend the intellectual, religious, and political boundaries of Latin Christendom. It also illustrates how the very concept of the crusade was shaped by the urge to define and reform communities of practice and belief within Latin Christendom and by Latin Christendom's relationship with other communities, including dissenting political powers and heretical groups, the Moors in Spain, the Mongols, and eastern Christians. The relationship of the crusade to reform and missionary movements is also explored, as is its impact on individual lives and devotion. The selection of documents and bibliography incorporates and brings to life recent developments in crusade scholarship concerning military logistics and travel in the medieval period, popular and elite participation, the role of women, liturgy and preaching, and the impact of the crusade on western society and its relationship with other cultures and religions.
Intended for the undergraduate yet also invaluable for teachers and scholars, this book illustrates how the crusades became crucial for defining and promoting the very concept and boundaries of Latin Christendom. It provides translations of and commentaries on key original sources and an up-to-date bibliography.
In the wake of Jerusalem's fall in 1099, the crusading armies of western Christians known as the Franks found themselves governing not only Muslims and Jews but also local Christians, whose culture and traditions were a world apart from their own. The crusader-occupied swaths of Syria and Palestine were home to many separate Christian communities: Greek and Syrian Orthodox, Armenians, and other sects with sharp doctrinal differences. How did these disparate groups live together under Frankish rule?
In The Crusades and the Christian World of the East, Christopher MacEvitt marshals an impressive array of literary, legal, artistic, and archeological evidence to demonstrate how crusader ideology and religious difference gave rise to a mode of coexistence he calls "rough tolerance." The twelfth-century Frankish rulers of the Levant and their Christian subjects were separated by language, religious practices, and beliefs. Yet western Christians showed little interest in such differences. Franks intermarried with local Christians and shared shrines and churches, but they did not hesitate to use military force against Christian communities. Rough tolerance was unlike other medieval modes of dealing with religious difference, and MacEvitt illuminates the factors that led to this striking divergence.
"It is commonplace to discuss the diversity of the Middle East in terms of Muslims, Jews, and Christians," MacEvitt writes, "yet even this simplifies its religious complexity." While most crusade history has focused on Christian-Muslim encounters, MacEvitt offers an often surprising account by examining the intersection of the Middle Eastern and Frankish Christian worlds during the century of the First Crusade.
Lordship, Status, and Process in Twelfth-Century Europe
The authors of Cultures of Power proffer diverse perspectives on the prehistory of government in Northern France, Spain, Germany, the Low Countries, and England. Political, social, ecclesiastical, and cultural history are brought to bear on topics such as aristocracies, women, rituals, commemoration, and manifestations of power through literary, legal, and scriptural means.
Blood, Gender, and Medieval Literature
In The Curse of Eve, the Wound of the Hero, Peggy McCracken explores the role of blood symbolism in establishing and maintaining the sex-gender systems of medieval culture. Reading a variety of literary texts in relation to historical, medical, and religious discourses about blood, and in the context of anthropological and religious studies, McCracken offers a provocative examination of the ways gendered cultural values were mapped onto blood in the Middle Ages.
As McCracken demonstrates, blood is gendered when that of men is prized in stories about battle and that of women is excluded from the public arena in which social and political hierarchies are contested and defined through chivalric contest. In her examination of the conceptualization of familial relationships, she uncovers the privileges that are grounded in gendered definitions of blood relationships. She shows that in narratives about sacrifice a father's relationship to his son is described as a shared blood, whereas texts about women accused of giving birth to monstrous children define the mother's contribution to conception in terms of corrupted, often menstrual blood. Turning to fictional representations of bloody martyrdom and of eucharistic ritual, McCracken juxtaposes the blood of the wounded guardian of the grail with that of Christ and suggests that the blood from the grail king's wound is characterized in opposition to that of women and Jewish men.
Drawing on a range of French and other literary texts, McCracken shows how the dominant ideas about blood in medieval culture point to ways of seeing modern values associated with blood in a new light, and how modern representations in turn suggest new perspectives on medieval perceptions.
The Aesthetics of Transgression
During his lifetime, Dante was condemned as corrupt and banned from Florence on pain of death. But in 1329, eight years after his death, he was again viciously condemned—this time as a heretic and false prophet—by Friar Guido Vernani. From Vernani’s inquisitorial viewpoint, the author of the Commedia “seduced” his readers by offering them “a vessel of demonic poison” mixed with poetic fantasies designed to destroy the “healthful truth” of Catholicism. Thanks to such pious vituperations, a sulphurous fume of unorthodoxy has persistently clung to the mantle of Dante’s poetic fame.
The primary critical purpose of Dante & the Unorthodox is to examine the aesthetic impulses behind the theological and political reasons for Dante’s allegory of mid-life divergence from the papally prescribed “way of salvation.” Marking the septicentennial of his exile, the book’s eighteen critical essays, three excerpts from an allegorical drama, and a portfolio of fourteen contemporary artworks address the issue of the poet’s conflicted relation to orthodoxy.
By bringing the unorthodox out of the realm of “secret things,” by uncensoring them at every turn, Dante dared to oppose the censorious regime of Latin Christianity with a transgressive zeal more threatening to papal authority than the demonic hostility feared by Friar Vernani.
Dante and the Blessed Virgin is distinguished philosopher Ralph McInerny’s eloquent reading of one of western literature’s most famous works by a Catholic writer. The book provides Catholic readers new to Dante’s The Divine Comedy (or Commedia) with a concise companion volume. McInerny argues that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the key to Dante. She is behind the scenes at the very beginning of the Commedia, and she is found at the end in the magnificent closing cantos of the Paradiso. McInerny also discusses Dante’s Vita Nuova, where Mary is present as the object of the young Beatrice’s devotion. McInerny draws from a diverse group of writers throughout this book, including Plato, Aristotle, St. Bernard, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, and George Santayana, among others. It is St. Thomas, however, to whom McInerny most often turns, and this book also provides an accessible introduction to Thomistic moral philosophy focusing on the appetites, the ordering of goods, the distinction between the natural and the supernatural orders, the classification of capital vices and virtues, and the nature of the theological virtues. This engagingly written book will serve as a source of inspiration and devotion for anyone approaching Dante’s work for the first time as well as those who value the work of Ralph McInerny.