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Palgrave Macmillan

Odd Bodies and Visible Ends in Medieval Literature

  • Book
  • © 2006


Part of the book series: The New Middle Ages (TNMA)

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Table of contents (5 chapters)


About this book

This study traces how medieval audiences judge bodies from Doomsday visions to beauty contests. Employing cultural and formalist approaches, this study breaks new ground on the historical obsession about ends and changes, reflected in different genres spanning several hundred years.


'Odd Bodies and Visible Ends is a very impressive piece of work. It is learned, textually proficient, and admirably wide ranging. Shimomura ably handles a variety of languages with accuracy and to excellent effect: Old and Middle English, Latin, Old Icelandic, Middle French. She makes effective use of an equally impressive variety of genres, from Old and Middle English homilies, to Old and Middle English poetry, to Latin history and hagiography, Icelandic verse and French romance. Often she has strikingly new and sometimes brilliant insights: for example, about an implicit but quite striking teleology surrounding the Wife of Bath's prologue, about the way Christian teleology operates in the Carl of Carlisle romances, about the overlapping of ideal stasis, regular seasonal time, and romance 'openness' in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Shimomura has something fresh and enlightening to say about every text on which she comments.' - Joseph Wittig, Professor of English, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This is traditional philological literary criticism in its finest form, based on close analysis and understanding of the texts concerned, and building appropriately on previous scholarship, while making an original, useful, and thoughtful contribution to the field. Cogent and accessible, this book is beautifully written and well constructed. The range of works represented here is broad, with chapters on the Old English Judgment day poem Christ III, theNorthern Homily Cycle, The Wife of Bath, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as well as excellent close analysis of a variety of other texts in several languages, notably Latin. Undoubtedly, Shimomura's work will make a considerable impact in the field of Old and Middle English studies." - Andy Orchard, Professor of English and Medieval Studies and Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, Canada

About the author

SACHI SHIMOMURA is Assistant Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, USA.

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