The Monstrous Middle Ages

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Bettina Bildhauer, Robert Mills
University of Wales Press, May 15, 2017 - History - 236 pages
The figure of the monster in medieval culture functions as a vehicle for a range of intellectual and spiritual inquiries, from questions of language and representation to issues of moral, theological and cultural value. Monsters embody cultural tensions that go far beyond the idea of the monster as simply an unintelligible and abject other. This text looks at both the representation of literal monsters and the consumption and exploitation of monstrous metaphors in a wide variety of high and late-medieval cultural productions, from travel writing and mystical texts, to sermons, manuscript illuminations and maps. Individual essays explore the ways in which monstrosity shaped the construction of gendered and racial identities, religious symbolism and social prejudice in the Middle Ages. Reading the Middle Ages through its monsters provides an opportunity to view medieval culture from fresh perspectives. It should be of interest in the concept of monstrosity and its significance for medieval cultural production.

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List of Illustrations
Jesus as Monster
Monstrous Masculinities in Julian of Norwichs
Blood Jews and Monsters in Medieval Culture
Gerald of Wales and
Paganity Hybridity

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About the author (2017)

Dr Bettina Bildhauer is Lecturer in German at the University of St Andrews, and has published widely on medieval themes.

Dr Robert Mills is Reader in Medieval Art at UCL.

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