Medieval Obscenities

Medieval Obscenities

Edited by Nicola F. McDonald

Paperback
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Hardback
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York Medieval Press

Overview

Overview

"Obscenity" is central to an understanding of medieval culture, and it is here examined in a number of different media.
Obscenity is, if nothing else, controversial. Its definition, consumption and regulation fire debate about the very meaning of art and culture, law, politics and ideology. And it is often, erroneously, assumed to be synonymous with modernity. Medieval Obscenities examines the complex and contentious role of the obscene - what is offensive, indecent or morally repugnant - in medieval culture from late antiquity through to the end of the Middle Ages in western Europe. Its approach is multidisciplinary, its methodologies divergent and it seeks to formulate questions and stimulate debate. The essays examine topics as diverse as Norse defecation taboos, the Anglo-Saxon sexual idiom, sheela-na-gigs, impotence in the church courts, bare ecclesiastical bottoms, rude sounds and dirty words, as well as the modern reception and representation of the medieval obscene. They demonstrate not only the vitality of medieval obscenity, but its centrality to our understanding of the Middle Ages and ourselves.

Contributors: MICHAEL CAMILLE, GLENN DAVIS, EMMA DILLON, SIMON GAUNT, JEREMY GOLDBERG, EAMONN KELLY, CAROLYNE LARRINGTON, NICOLA MCDONALD, ALASTAIR MINNIS, DAUNUTA SHANZER

Details

22 black and white illustrations
220 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781903153185, April 2006
Paperback, 9781903153505, February 2014
York Medieval Press
BIC ACN, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC ART015000
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Table of Contents

Introduction - Nicola F McDonald
Dr Witowski's Anus: French Doctors, German Homosexuals and the Obscene in Medieval Church Art - Michael Camille
The Exeter Book Riddles and the Place of Sexual Idiom in Old English Literature - Glenn Davis
Representing Obscene Sound - Emma Dillon
Obscene Hermeneutics in Troubadour Lyric - Simon Gaunt
John Skathelok's Dick: Voyerism and `Pornography' in Late Medieval England - P J P Goldberg
Irish Sheela-na-gigs and Related Figures with Reference to the Collections of the National Museum of Ireland - Eamonn Kelly
Diet, Defecation and the Devil: Disgust and the Pagan Past - Carolyne Larrington
From Coilles to Bel Chose: Discourses of Obscenity in Jean de Meun and Chaucer - Alastair J Minnis
Latin literature, Christianity and Obscenity in the later Roman West - Danuta Shanzer

Reviews

Especially welcome for its range of theoretical perspectives on what remains a tricky subject. MEDIUM AEVUM
Very fine case studies...we get smart new perspectives on medieval art, architecture, literature, language and law, as well as on sex, bodily functions and the establishment and subversion of norms. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Demonstrate(s) beyond doubt that the middle ages had a sophisticated awareness of the obscene. HISTORY

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