Literature > Literature / Medieval and Renaissance

   
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Virgin Whore
Emma Maggie Solberg
In Virgin Whore, Emma Maggie Solberg uncovers a surprisingly prevalent theme in late English medieval literature and culture: the celebration of the Virgin Mary’s sexuality. Although history is narrated as a progressive loss of innocence, the Madonna has grown purer with each passing century. Looking to a period before the idea of her purity...



Obscene Pedagogies
Transgressive Talk and Sexual Education in Late Medieval Britain
Carissa M. Harris
As anyone who has read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales knows, Middle English literature is rife with sexually explicit language and situations. Less canonical works can be even more brazen in describing illicit acts of sexual activity and sexual violence. Such scenes and language were not, however, included exclusively for titillation. In Obscene...



Imagining World Order
Literature and International Law in Early Modern Europe, 1500–1800
Chenxi Tang
In early modern Europe, international law emerged as a means of governing relations between rapidly consolidating sovereign states, purporting to establish a normative order for the perilous international world. However, it was intrinsically fragile and uncertain, for sovereign states had no acknowledged common authority that would create...



The City Lament
Jerusalem across the Medieval Mediterranean
Tamar M. Boyadjian
Poetic elegies for lost or fallen cities are seemingly as old as cities themselves. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, this genre finds its purest expression in the book of Lamentations, which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem; in Arabic, this genre is known as the ritha al-mudun. In The City Lament, Tamar M. Boyadjian traces the trajectory of...



Phantasmatic Shakespeare
Imagination in the Age of Early Modern Science
Suparna Roychoudhury
Representations of the mind have a central place in Shakespeare’s artistic imagination, as we see in Bottom struggling to articulate his dream, Macbeth reaching for a dagger that is not there, and Prospero humbling his enemies with spectacular illusions. Phantasmatic Shakespeare examines the intersection between early modern literature and...



Quick Cattle and Dying Wishes
People and Their Animals in Early Modern England
Erica Fudge
What was the life of a cow in early modern England like? What would it be like to milk that same cow, day-in, day-out, for over a decade? How did people feel about and toward the animals that they worked with, tended, and often killed? With these questions, Erica Fudge begins her investigation into a lost aspect of early modern life: the...



Language of Power
Feasting and Gift-Giving in Medieval Iceland and Its Sagas
Vidar Palsson, Viðar Pálsson
Viðar Pálsson addresses pre-modern European power relationships that provide the context for narratives of feasts and exchanges of gifts so conspicuous in the Icelandic sagas.



After Lavinia
A Literary History of Premodern Marriage Diplomacy
John Watkins
In medieval and early modern Europe, marriage treaties were a perennial feature of the diplomatic landscape. In After Lavinia, John Watkins traces the history of the practice, focusing on the unusually close relationship between diplomacy and literary production in Western Europe from antiquity through the seventeenth...



Jacob's Shipwreck
Diaspora, Translation, and Jewish-Christian Relations in Medieval England
Ruth Nisse
Jewish and Christian authors of the High Middle Ages not infrequently came into dialogue or conflict with each other over traditions drawn from ancient writings outside of the bible. Circulating in Hebrew and Latin translations, these included the two independent versions of the Testament of Naphtali. For Ruth Nisse, this is an emblematic...



Margery Kempe and the Lonely Reader
Rebecca Krug
In Margery Kempe and the Lonely Reader, Rebecca Krug shows how and why Kempe wrote her Book, arguing that in her engagement with written culture she discovered a desire to experience spiritual comfort and to interact with fellow believers who also sought to live lives of intense emotional...



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