Metamorphosis and Identity by Caroline Walker BynumMetamorphosis and Identity by Caroline Walker Bynum

Metamorphosis and Identity

byCaroline Walker Bynum

Paperback | August 26, 2005

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An exploration of the roles of metamorphosis and hybridity in the establishment of personal identity, with particular emphasis on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The four studies in this book center on the Western obsession with the nature of personal identity. Focusing on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but with an eye toward antiquity and the present, Caroline Walker Bynum explores the themes of metamorphosis and hybridity in genres ranging from poetry, folktales, and miracle collections to scholastic theology, devotional treatises, and works of natural philosophy. She argues that the obsession with boundary-crossing and otherness was an effort to delineate nature's regularities and to establish a strong sense of personal identity, extending even beyond the grave. She examines historical figures such as Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, Bernard Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, as well as modern fabulists such as Angela Carter, as examples of solutions to the perennial question of how the individual can both change and remain constant. Addressing the fundamental question for historians-that of change-Bynum also explores the nature of history writing itself.

Caroline Walker Bynum is University Professor at Columbia University. She is the author of Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336, and Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Body in Medieval Religion (Zone Books, 1991).
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Title:Metamorphosis and IdentityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:August 26, 2005Publisher:Zone BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1890951234

ISBN - 13:9781890951238

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An exploration of the roles of metamorphosis and hybridity in the establishment of personal identity, with particular emphasis on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.The four studies in this book center on the Western obsession with the nature of personal identity. Focusing on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but with an eye toward antiquity and the present, Caroline Walker Bynum explores the themes of metamorphosis and hybridity in genres ranging from poetry, folktales, and miracle collections to scholastic theology, devotional treatises, and works of natural philosophy. She argues that the obsession with boundary-crossing and otherness was an effort to delineate nature's regularities and to establish a strong sense of personal identity, extending even beyond the grave. She examines historical figures such as Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, Bernard Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, as well as modern fabulists such as Angela Carter, as examples of solutions to the perennial question of how the individual can both change and remain constant. Addressing the fundamental question for historians-that of change-Bynum also explores the nature of history writing itself.Once again, Caroline Walker Bynum's work captures, with characteristic vividness and precision, the particularity and the urgency of the thought-patterns of a long-past Middle Ages. If, as Bynum argues, 'Wonder is the special characteristic of the historian,' then this book can count both as a ringing validation of the historian's craft and as a challenge to modern persons to take seriously studies of the past that replenish and sharpen our own sense of wonder at central problems of the human experience of change and identity that, for good or ill, refuse to go away.-Peter Brown, Department of History, Princeton University