Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society

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University of Chicago Press, 1998 - History - 290 pages
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Through this vivid study, Jean-Claude Schmitt examines medieval religious culture and the significance of the widespread belief in ghosts, revealing the ways in which the dead and the living related to each other during the middle ages. Schmitt also discusses Augustine's influence on medieval authors; the link between dreams and autobiographical narratives; and monastic visions and folklore. Including numerous color reproductions of ghosts and ghostly trappings, this book presents a unique and intriguing look at medieval culture.

"Valuable and highly readable. . . . [Ghosts in the Middle Ages] will be of interest to many students of medieval thought and culture, but especially to those seeking a general overview of this particularly conspicuous aspect of the medieval remembrance of the dead."—Hans Peter Broedel, Medieval Review

"A fascinating study of the growing prevalence of ghost imagery in ecclesiastical and popular writing from the fifth to the fifteenth century."—Choice
 

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User Review  - meandmybooks - LibraryThing

Right up front I'll point out that this is a book of social history, not ghost stories. Schmitt is interested in what ghost stories tell us about developments in institutions and society in the Middle ... Read full review

Contents

The Rejection of Ghosts
11
Legacies and CounterModels
12
Ghosts and the Bible
14
Augustine and Evodius
17
Augustine and Paulinus of Nola
20
The Mediating Imagination
22
A Body or an Image?
25
The Descendants of Saint Augustine
27
The Imaginary Tamed?
123
The Cistercian Contribution
126
The Mendicant Orders
133
The Wandering Souls of Montaillou
140
The Spirits of Yorkshire
142
A Breton Ghost
147
The Dead and Power
149
The Grandfather of Arndt Buschmann
152

Between Saints and Demons
29
The Genesis of Medieval Tales
31
The Development of the Liturgy of the Dead
33
Dreaming of the Dead
35
The Visible and the Invisible
36
Ecstatic Visions of the Dead
40
Dreaming of the Dead
42
Christian Autobiography and Ghosts
43
The Penitential Dream
51
The First Writings
52
The Nightmare of Giovanni Morelli
54
The Invasion of Ghosts
59
In Praise of the Present
60
Monastic Visions
62
The RomeCluny Axis
65
The Community of Monks
68
Monks and Nobles
71
The Marvelous Dead
79
The Secularization of Tales
81
The Court Clerics
83
The Ghost of Beaucaire
87
Hellequins Hunt
93
How Ancient Is the Wild Hunt?
100
The Elect and the Damned
101
Tainted Souls
103
The Procession of the Elect the Ride of the Damned
107
Political Uses of Hellequins Hunt
111
Hellequin or Arthur? The Diabolization of the Troop of the Dead
116
The Discernment of Spirits
155
The Powerful and the Dead
159
The Charivari of Fauvel
164
Time Space and Society
171
The Calendar of the Dead
173
The Week of the Dead
176
Day and Night
177
Where Did Ghosts Come From?
178
Inside and Outside
181
The Cemetery
182
The Wild Boundaries of the Land
184
A Bond of Social Relationships
185
Alliance
187
Filiation
188
Spiritual
190
Describing Ghosts
195
The Spiritual and the Corporeal
196
The Language of the Dead
200
The Clothing of the Dead
201
Illustrations of Ghosts
205
The Birth of the Phantom
210
Ghosts and the Macabre
213
Are They Ghosts?
217
Conclusion
221
Notes
229
Index
277
Copyright

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Page 5 - cool off" memory under the guise of maintaining it, to soothe the painful memory of the deceased until the memory became indistinct." 144 The apparition of a revenant in certain dream accounts becomes a way for Schmitt, as a social historian, to penetrate into what he calls "the heart of 'the work of mourning...
Page 262 - ANOTHER PRODIGY. A knight of Northumberland was seated alone in his house after dinner in summer about the tenth hour, and lo ! his father, who had died long before, approached him clad in a foul and ragged shroud. He thought the appearance was a devil and drove it back from the threshold, but his father said : " Dearest son, fear not. I am your father, and I bring you no ill ; but call the priest and...

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