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Reading Skin in Medieval Literature and Culture
 
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Reading Skin in Medieval Literature and Culture
Edited by Katie L. Walter
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
20 Mar 2013
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£53.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230338708
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Skin is a multifarious image in medieval culture: the material basis for forming a sense of self and relation to the world, as well as a powerful literary and visual image. Treating key medieval English texts and traditions, from romance and exemplum to technical treatises and encyclopedias, the essays in this collection show the subject of skin to be a peculiarly resistant and revealing mode of reading texts, highlighting not the hierarchy, but the interdependency of the senses, and laying bare the intimacy of the human, the animal, the divine and the monstrous in medieval natural philosophy, pastoralia and ethics, and the literary imagination.


Description

Skin is a multifarious image in medieval culture: the material basis for forming a sense of self and relation to the world, as well as a powerful literary and visual image. Treating key medieval English texts and traditions, from romance and exemplum to technical treatises and encyclopedias, the essays in this collection show the subject of skin to be a peculiarly resistant and revealing mode of reading texts, highlighting not the hierarchy, but the interdependency of the senses, and laying bare the intimacy of the human, the animal, the divine and the monstrous in medieval natural philosophy, pastoralia and ethics, and the literary imagination.


Reviews

'Taking as its subject matter what Katie Walter aptly calls 'the dense tissue of associations of skin in medieval culture,' the essays in this excellent volume explore the porousness of body to world, human vulnerability, the jarring effects of touching and being touched, our intimacy with animals and monsters, race and corporeal form, medical and religious discourses of the dermal, and the enfolding of identity and temporality via the corporeal membrane. Well written and cogently argued, Reading Skin in Medieval Literature and Culture offers eight essays and a response piece through which the cultural meanings and blunt material challenges of skin undermine the duality of surface and depth.' - Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Professor of English and Director, GW Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, George Washington University, USA


Contents

Introduction; Katie L. Walter
1. Wondrous Skins and Tactile Affection: The Blemmye's Touch; Lara Farina
2. Noli me tangere: The Enigma of Touch in Middle English Religious Literature and Art for and about Women; Elizabeth Robertson
3. Havelok's Bare Life and the Significance of Skin; Robert Mills
4. The Medieval Werewolf Model of Reading Skin; Susan Small
5. Cutaneous Time in the Late Medieval Literary Imagination; Isabel Davis
6. The Form of the Formless: Medieval Taxonomies of Skin, Flesh and the Human; Katie L. Walter
7. Discerning Skin: Complexion, Surgery and Language in Medieval Confession; Virginia Langum
8. Desire and Defacement in The Testament of Cresseid; Julie Orlemanski
9. Touching Back: Responding to Reading Skin; Karl Steel


Authors

Katie L. Walter is Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex, UK. She is the author of a forthcoming book on the mouth in medieval religious and medical traditions and is the co-editor of The Culture of Inquisition in Medieval England.