Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, 1992 - Art - 176 pages
2 Reviews
What do they all mean – the lascivious ape, autophagic dragons, pot-bellied heads, harp-playing asses, arse-kissing priests and somersaulting jongleurs to be found protruding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? Michael Camille explores that riotous realm of marginal art, so often explained away as mere decoration or zany doodles, where resistance to social constraints flourished.

Medieval image-makers focused attention on the underside of society, the excluded and the ejected. Peasants, servants, prostitutes and beggars all found their place, along with knights and clerics, engaged in impudent antics in the margins of prayer-books or, as gargoyles, on the outsides of churches. Camille brings us to an understanding of how marginality functioned in medieval culture and shows us just how scandalous, subversive, and amazing the art of the time could be.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cdddddd - LibraryThing

This book is good because of the subject - what do all those seemingly random doodles on the margin mean? Why is a knight fighting a snail? Why is a giant head with two legs walking around? But it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stevil2001 - LibraryThing

Camille explores the marginal art of medieval manuscripts, usually discussing how it can be used to react against the main text of the manuscripts, allowing the margins of society to be represented on ... Read full review


In the Margins of the Monastery
In the Margins of the Cathedral
In the Margins of the Court
In the Margins of the City
The End of the Edge
List of Illustrations

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 171 - Renaissance texts & stadies is the publishing program of the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1992)

Michael Camille was Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago.

Bibliographic information