From Beasts To Souls: Gender And Embodiment In Medieval Europe by E. Jane BurnsFrom Beasts To Souls: Gender And Embodiment In Medieval Europe by E. Jane Burns

From Beasts To Souls: Gender And Embodiment In Medieval Europe

EditorE. Jane Burns, Peggy Mccracken

Paperback | April 15, 2013

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The Middle Ages provides a particularly rich trove of hybrid creatures, semi-human beings, and composite bodies: we need only consider manuscript pages and stone capitals in Romanesque churches to picture the myriad figures incorporating both human and animal elements that allow movement between, and even confusion of, components of each realm.
From Beasts to Souls: Gender and Embodiment in Medieval Europe raises the issues of species and gender in tandem, asking readers to consider more fully what happens to gender in medieval representations of nonhuman embodiment. The contributors reflect on the gender of stones and the soul, of worms and dragons, showing that medieval cultural artifacts, whether literary, historical, or visual, do not limit questions of gender to predictable forms of human or semi-human embodiment. By expanding what counts as “the body” in medieval cultural studies, the essays shift our understanding of gendered embodiment and articulate new perspectives on its range, functions, and effects on a broader theoretical spectrum. Drawing on depictions of differently bodied creatures in the Middle Ages, they dislodge and reconfigure long-standing views of the body as always human and the human body as merely male and female.
The essays address a number of cultural contexts and academic disciplines: from French and English literature to objects of Germanic and Netherlandish material culture, from theological debates to literary concerns with the soul. They engage with issues of gender and embodiment located in stones, skeletons, and snake tails, swan-knights, and werewolves, along with a host of other unexpected places in a thought-provoking addition to somatic cultural history. 
"From Beasts to Souls: Gender and Embodiment in Medieval Europe is a cogent, well-conceived addition to the dynamic field of cultural studies of the body. The essays are extremely strong, with contributions that are both insightful and provocative." —Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto
E. Jane Burns is the Druscilla French Distinguished Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, and adjunct professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Peggy McCracken is professor of French, women's studies, and comparative literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Contribu...
Title:From Beasts To Souls: Gender And Embodiment In Medieval EuropeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:April 15, 2013Publisher:University of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268022321

ISBN - 13:9780268022327

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Editorial Reviews

“This superb, well-illustrated anthology well represents medieval cultural studies’ recent focus on animals and other nonhuman subjects. It attends chiefly to Middle English and French literature, with a welcome aside into medieval Christian doctrine. Its topics range from stones to mother’s milk, werewolves and lions, gendered souls, free-floating genitalia, and monstrous founding mothers, demonstrating the range of materials that become available to scholars once we cease to presume that humans are the only proper subject of our attention, or that the category of ‘the human’ is an already answered question.” —Arthuriana “As a whole, the text offers a valuable contribution to the study of sex and gender in the medieval period by locating gender theory in relation to a diverse set of disciplinary and theoretical frames. . . . This collection offers a valuable contribution to medieval studies, gender studies, and new materialisms.” —Theology and Sexuality “This volume has everything to recommend it, not the least the list of contributors, some of the most enticing writers in the field. . . . Each article has a distinct theoretical profile, making it a collection of case studies on post-human gender from different perspectives. In this strong volume, every reader will find his or her preferred aspects.” —Modern Philology