Fluid Bodies and Bodily Fluids in Premodern Europe: Bodies, Blood, and Tears in Literature, Theology, and Art


Fluid Bodies and Bodily Fluids in Premodern Europe: Bodies, Blood, and Tears in Literature, Theology, and Art

ISBN: 9781641892384


For medieval and early modern thinkers, the apparent solidity of the body only came about through the dynamic interplay of a host of fluidities in constant flux. This interdisciplinary collection of essays, containing chapters from specialists in history, art history, medical history, and literature, examines how the intimately familiar language of the body served as a convenient medium through which to imagine and describe transformations of the larger world, both for the better and also for the worse. Its individual contributors demonstrate the myriad ways in which rethinking the human body was one way to approach rethinking the social, political, and religious realities of the world from the Middle Ages until the early modern period.


Chapter 1: Introduction: Bodies, Fluidity, and Change, Michael D. Barbezat and Anne M. Scott
PART 1: Transformative and Manipulative Tears
Chapter 2: Where Did Marjorie Kempe Cry?, Anthony Bale
Chapter 3: Elusive Tears: Lamentation and Impassivity in fifteenth-Century Passion Iconography, Hugh Hudson
Chapter 4: Catherine’s Tears: Diplomatic Corporeality, Affective Performance and Gender at the Sixteenth-Century French Court, Susan Broomhall
PART 2: Identities in Blood
Chapter 5: Piers Plowman and the Blood of Brotherhood, Anne M. Scott
Chapter 6: Performative Asceticism and Exemplary Effluvia: Blood, Tears and Rapture in Fourteenth-Century German Dominican Literature, Samuel Baudinette
Chapter 7: “Bloody Business:” Passions and Regulation of Sanguinity in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and King Lear, Karin Sellberg
PART 3: Bodies and blood in life death and resurrection
Chapter 8: Saintly Blood: Absence, Presence and the alter Christus, Diana Hiller
Chapter 9: The treatment of the body in Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, Helen Gramotnev
Chapter 10: Augustine on the Flesh of the Resurrection Body in the De fide et symbolo: Origen, Manicheanism, and Augustine’s Developing Thought Regarding Human Physical Perfection, Michael D. Barbezat
Select bibliography

Author Bio(s)

Anne M. Scott is an Honorary Research Fellow in English and Cultural Studies at the University of Western Australia. She has published widely in late Middle English literature.

Michael David Barbezat is an historian of religious and intellectual history. He is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Western Australia.

Reviewer Quote(s)

“The new research presented in this thoughtful collection of essays significantly furthers our understanding of bodily fluids and corporeality in the premodern world.” —Katie Barclay, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Adelaide

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Arc Humanities Press