Perception and Action in Medieval Europe
Can dancers dance for a year and a day without drinking, eating and sleeping? Can pictures be made to speak to their viewers? Can lavender purify the soul? The modern mind regards it as impossible and simply regards reports that these things happened as typical of the `fantastic' Middle Ages. In his new book, however, Harald Kleinschmidt argues that we should not be so swift to dismiss such matters. In this thought-provoking study of the logic of perception and action behind these and other stories, and of the history of the five senses, he argues that modern Western rationalism is peculiar in seeing an opposition between perceivers and the targets of their curiosity, actors and their environments or, in general terms, subject and object. Instead, he shows that whether active or passive, people saw their deeds as correlated and mutually dependent. Using a wide range of textual and pictorial sources, he goes on to demonstrate that the assumption of an opposition between subject and object resulted from fundamental changes of standards of perception and patterns of action that took place during the Middle Ages, resulting in the emergence of a new rationalism. HARALD KLEINSCHMIDT teaches in the College of International Studies at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
2nd edn actors Adomnan aesthetics and ethics Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Andarchius Asthetik Augustine aural perception bathing beautiful Bede Berlin Burchard of Worms charter Christian Church Cologne cols concept of action dancers dancing demand displayed divine early medieval early Middle Ages Echternach eleventh century Emperor environment evil feasting Frankfurt Geschichte goal-attainment goal-orientation goals Gottingen Hanover human Jahrhundert Johann John Scotus Eriugena judgements Karl kin groups King Kolbigk Leipzig Libri London medieval messages Mittelalter monasteries monastic Monumenta Germaniae Historica Munich ninth century oral Oswald Oxford Paris perceived perception and action persons physical picture PL vol polyptychs processes Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite record repr rulers sense smell perception social sources space SS rer standards of perception Stuttgart tenth texts theory of action thirteenth century Thomas Aquinas tion touch and taste Tubingen types of group urban viewers vision visual perception York