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Displaying: 1-8 of 8 documents


1. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Kate R. Falardeau

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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 163 is one of three extant eleventh-century English examples of the so-called Romano-German Pontifical tradition. This article argues that the compilation of ordines within MS 163 and the text of its ordo for the consecration of widows support provenance at Nunnaminster, Winchester. The placement of this ordo within the manuscript reveals a performative and historicized understanding of the liturgical and social role of widows themselves in eleventh-century England. In MS 163, tenth- and eleventh-century liturgical practice intersects with a liturgical discourse of widowhood. This discourse relies upon the performative signification of chastity, through the veil and vestments of consecration, to assuage contemporary anxieties surrounding the agency of widows. The performativity and temporality of the consecration of widows within the manuscript, combined with its gendered redaction of the Romano-German Pontifical tradition, raises possibilities for the intersection of liturgy, history, and gender at Nunnaminster.

2. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Mario Martín Páez

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The aim of this article is to analyze the social patterns of lovesickness in thirteenth century Iceland and Norway. I approach feelings from an anthropological perspective and understand them as emotional concepts that shed light not on the inner state of the individual, but rather on the social context in which one is integrated. Special attention is paid to the relationship between love and grief in Vǫlsunga saga, Tristrams saga, and the Strengleikar. In these sources, most of the concepts for grief, pain, and sorrow are associated with love affairs, and can be the result of infatuation, of the impossibility for the sweethearts to stay together, or of the beloved’s death. This affection is also understood as an illness whose only remedy lies in the loved person. The emphasis placed on the conjugal relationship runs parallel to historical changes in kinship structure and marriage rules. Thus, emotional concepts and literary expressions of love could react against social practices and pave the way for the insertion of Christian laws. However, the Christian marriage model was not totally opposed to secular interests, as the economic and political gains of marriages were still crucial in both medieval literature and law.

3. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Nicole Clifton

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The Middle English romance Kyng Alisaunder, often considered a positive exemplum of kingship, criticizes the conqueror’s brutal treatment of conquered cities, incorporating references to the Aeneid and to Troy to heighten the horror of war and to connect Alexander clearly to Britain’s foundation myth. Alexander’s interactions with Queen Candace and her family also present him as an anti-Aeneas. Cities including Troy frame considerations of morality and justice, for Alexander as well as for his parents. The romance’s date, language, and descriptive details all associate the romance with London, such that its late thirteenth-century urban audience would likely read the critique of Alexander as indirect censure of Edward I, who was identified with Alexander and had a contentious relationship with London. At the same time, the romance’s concern with right rule continues to speak to readers in later decades, when the text was copied into three significant manuscripts, annotated, and printed.

4. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Max Matukhin

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This article seeks to investigate Dante’s intertwining of two confessional models, the sacramental and the Augustinian, throughout the first two cantiche of the Commedia. It shows how the poem repeatedly stages confessions that are either ineffective or unorthodox, in a bid to redefine the forms of truthfulness and authority that accompany the first person, allowing the poet to engage in confessional and prophetic forms of discourse. To do so, the article considers contemporary developments in theology and ecclesiastical practice so as to understand how Dante positions both his poem and himself as author vis-à-vis the important changes that occurred in the Latin Church in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215.

5. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Ronald B. Herzman, Jo Ann Hoeppner Moran Cruz

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This article revisits the question of Virgil’s salvation in Dante’s Commedia. It does so by following Virgil’s rather than Dante’s experiences as they descend into Hell and ascend Purgatory. A close reading of the text suggests that Dante is opening up to the reader the possibility of an extended mission for Virgil. Just as Virgil leaves Limbo to guide Dante’s conversion, so does his expected return to Limbo carry with it the potential for Christian conversion of the virtuous pagans awaiting him.

6. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Angelica Federici

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The renewed academic interest in religious women has not resulted in any overarching or detailed study of Latium. A thorough historiography is still lacking for the region’s late medieval convents. This is surprising as the region was densely populated by female monastic settlements between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. An emblematic case in this regard is the convent of Santa Maria in Viano in Sgurgola (Frosinone). By the fourteenth century, almost half of the Conti family estate in Sgurgola was owned by the nunnery of Santa Maria in Viano. The convent played a pivotal role in shifting the delicate power balance between feudal lords in the region. What emerges is the prominent and strategic role of female monastic communities whose political agency casts a new light on an overlooked but historically dynamic period. Rural monastic settlements functioned as strategic frontiers, which were crucial to regional baronial land interests during the earlier period. Unsurprisingly, the presence of innovative architectural and artistic elements inside the church of Santa Maria in Viano also showcases the synthesis of Cistercian architectural models and local building traditions.

7. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Joanna Murdoch

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This article proposes that fifteenth-century English poet John Lydgate transforms the medieval tradition of calendrical verse from a mnemonic aid to a site for readers to practice interpretive agency. Building on studies of the metrical calendar genre by Michael Lapidge and Jessica Brantley, I show how Lydgate’s solutions to representing time in poetic meter in fact open up new possibilities for interpretive practice within late medieval penitential devotion. Lydgate’s Kalendare is a poetic prayer composed for, and received on, the material page, yet whose proper reading works on, in, and through the reader’s “answere,” an unfolding process of discovery drawing on a blend of interior assent and commitment to mutual aid. Rather than shutting down readers’ personal agency or threatening isolation, the working parts of Lydgate’s Kalendare—diction, syntax, meter, and calendar frame—construct and invite an open-ended, socially connective exploration of meaning over time.

8. Mediaevalia: Volume > 44
Jan Shaw

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Jean d’Arras’s romance Mélusine (1393) has been referred to as a “Founding Fiction” of medieval France. Around 1500 it was translated into English. Focusing on the Cilician Armenian episode, this paper finds that the colonizing imperative of d’Arras’s text is resisted in the English translation. A comparison of the two versions reveals that the love relation depicted as seamless in d’Arras’s version is fractured in the English translation, destabilizing the hegemonic identities of the chivalric hero and courtly heroine. The failure of the love relation and the sacrifice of the courtly heroine in the English text can be read as resistance to the sanitization of Lusignan ascendancy and the imagined community of a unified Christian/Lusignan world that d’Arras’s text presents. Reading the relationship crisis through the lenses of Monique Scheer’s practice theory of emotions, and Luce Irigaray’s and Homi Bhabha’s theorizations of mimicry, this essay argues that the English text invites a comparison with history. In this way the English text makes a space for local Cilician Armenian histories, which d’Arras’s version appropriates and instrumentally consumes.