Manmade Marvels in Medieval Culture and Literature

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Palgrave Macmillan, Jul 15, 2007 - History - 212 pages
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Manmade marvels of the later medieval courts--animated golden birds, mechanical angels, and other fantastic machines--were not merely amusing distractions, but also agents of social negotiation and political import.  In Manmade Marvels, the dancing metal peacocks, animated statuary, and spectacular illusions of the romance tradition are disembedded from traditional literary representation as supernatural fictions, and situated in the political culture where mechanical marvels were fashioned to delight courts, garner prestige, and symbolize power. This book provides a synthesis of court politics and technological history, intellectual traditions, and the practices of everyday life. Lightsey restores these marvels to the cultural roles they played as they were created by craftsmen and consumed by elite culture, invigorating our understanding of the role of craft in embellishing noble lives with the marvelous.

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About the author (2007)

Scott Lightsey is Assistant Professor of medieval English at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. His studies of Middle English political, travel, and romance literatures are complemented by a love of antiquated machinery developed over two decades of researching and restoring vintage European motorcycles. He lives in Decatur, Georgia, with his wife and two children.