The Theophilus Legend in Medieval Text and Image

May 2017
60 black and white illustrations
297 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843844617
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BIC ACK, 1D, 2AB, 3H
BISAC ART015030, LIT011000

The Theophilus Legend in Medieval Text and Image

Jerry Root

An investigation of the depiction of the story of Theophilus in both its original texts, and images.
The legend of Theophilus stages an iconic medieval story, its widespread popularity attesting to its grip on the imagination. A pious clerk refuses a promotion, is demoted, becomes furious and makes a contract with the Devil. Later repentant, he seeks out a church and a statue of the Virgin; she appears to him, and he is transformed from apostate to saint. It is illustrated in a variety of media: texts, stained glass, sculpture, and manuscript illuminations.
Through a wide range of manuscript illuminations and a selection of French texts, the book explores visual and textual representations of the legend, setting it in its social, cultural and material contexts, and showing how it explores medieval anxieties concerning salvation and identity. The author argues that the legend is a sustained meditation on the power of images, its popularity corresponding with the rise of their role in portraying medieval identity and salvation, and in acting as portals between the limits of the material and the possibilities of the spiritual world

Jerry Root is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of Utah.

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Table of Contents

Homage to the Devil: ritual, writing, seal
The Self as dissemblance
Intervention of the Virgin
Sacramental action and Neoplatonic exemplarism
Works Cited
Appendix: Image Charts

Author Bio

Associate Professor, Department of World Languages and Cultures, University of Utah

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