In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

76BOOK REVIEWS do "with the spiritual significance and representation of the body." He does not elucidate how this came to be, but he explores it in rich detail, at least for the later Middle Ages. For example, Binski explains the history of late medieval memorials in terms of a "politics of space [and] the body" that led the wealthy and powerful to compete for recognition after death in increasingly crowded churches through ever more elaborate tombs and commemorative structures. The tension between such behavior and Christian ideals of penitence and humility led to the re-emergence of flat tomb slabs for floor burials—humble but unforgettable—as weU as the radical iconography ofthe transi tomb,which was not a response to the anxieties of life in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, but "an internal development of medieval visual culture itself," its macabre representation ofthe cadaver a reaction against the false decorum ofgothic effigies and renaissance ideaUzations of the human form. The treatment of dead bodies, in this world and the next, and their representations in art, meant much to medieval Europeans, as they do to us. By focusing on the body as "an ambivalent sign" of the state of the soul—and the social standing of the deceased—and on the "transactional" nature of medieval funereal art, which engaged its viewers in a dialogue about suffrages and selfhood, Binski situates the artistic products of"medieval death culture" within the complexities of late medieval culture as a whole. Unfortunately, he has less to say about the period before 1200. His text is also occasionally marred by lecturehaU witticisms ("the culture of the video nasty," the "sorry sadism" of a saint's life) and often strained evocations of Foucault, Freud, and Lacan. StiU, this lively and informative account marks a significant advance over previous treatments and should be a welcome addition to any course of readings on medieval culture or the history of death. Fred Paxton Connecticut College Diplomatari de la catedral de Barcelona. Vol. 1: Documents dels anys 844-1000. Edited by Àngel Fàbrega i Grau.With an introductory study by Josep BauceUs i Reig. [Arxiu Capitular de la Catedral de Barcelona, Pubkcacions , Serie TV: Fonts documentais, No. 1.] (Barcelona: Capítol Catedral de Barcelona. 1995. Pp. xv, 706; 7 plates. Pesetas 15,000.) The cathedral or chapter archives ofBarcelona, ensconced atop the cathedral cloister, constitute one of the richest smaUer coUections of Europe. Its Pia almoina section of eleemosynary charters alone has nourished countiess medieval studies. Over 40,000 parchments, either as originals or mid-thirteenthcentury copies in the massive four codices of the Libri antiquitatum, have yielded for this project some 6,000 charters running from 844 to 1260. This first volume presents 350 charters, to the year lOOO.Though they touch on many aspects of clerical business, they are in the main also secular BOOK REVIEWS77 documents, notably sales or alienations of a variety of properties involving husband-and-wife teams.They also include last testaments, judicial documents, privUeges, gifts, declarations, and similar categories. Kings, counts, countesses, and prelates are represented,but the majority ofactors are private citizens from every level of society. Each document is impeccably edited, as an historical rather than philological edition, though the philologist wiU find ample and careful material. Each document offers also a Catalan paraphrase of its contents, with aU proper names translated from Latinate forms. Each includes aU marginalia , rubrics, special signs, and other paleographical and diplomatic notes.The whole is handsomely produced. A book-length introduction in Catalan by the canon Josep BauceUs i Reig exhaustively and intricately analyzes the problems of dating, the codicology, paleography , documentary typology, language, and incidental information required as background. Five indexes include a very complete onomastic Usting; another names some two hundred scribes. Considering the small Barcelona of those two centuries (a suffragan see of Narbonne), these people must have constituted a considerable percentage of the total population, both men and women. The resolute researcher can glean extensive information on the geography of the city and the englobing Catalonia in its formative evolution toward independence .Two of the charters echo the sack of Barcelona by al-Mansur in 985,with people carried off...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 76-77
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.