The Unorthodox Imagination in Late Medieval Britain

Edited by Sophie Page

The Unorthodox Imagination in Late Medieval Britain

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7835-4
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2011
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Early history: c 500 to c 1450/1500, Humanities / British & Irish history, HISTORY / Medieval, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, CE period up to c 1500, History, History & Archaeology, History, Medieval History
  • Series: Neale UCL Studies in British History


The unorthodox imagination in late medieval Britain explores how medieval people responded to images, stories, beliefs and practices which were at odds with the normative world view, from the heretical and subversive to the marvellous and exotic.

The chapter by Jean-Claude Schmitt examines why some unorthodox images were viewed as provocative and threatening and explores how successfully ecclesiastical authorities contained their impact. The power of unorthodoxy to provoke wonder, scepticism or disapproval provides an opportunity to view medieval culture from fresh perspectives. The essays in this volume show that unorthodoxy was embedded in mainstream medieval culture, from stories of fairies and witches which promoted orthodox moral values to the social conformity of practitioners of ritual magic.

This book provides a guide to understanding medieval unorthodoxy and the roles played by experience and imagination in medieval encounters with the unorthodox. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the exotic, provocative and deviant in medieval culture.


List of figures
List of contributors
1. Unorthodox' Images?
Jean-Claude Schmitt
2. Comment on Jean-Claude Schmitt's Neale Lecture
Robert Bartlett
3. Fascination and anxiety in medieval wonder stories
Carl Watkins
4 . The materiality of unbelief in late medieval England
John Arnold
5. Magic and unorthodoxy in late medieval English pastoral manuals
Catherine Rider
6. Private reliquaries and other prophylactic jewels: new compositions and devotional practices (XIVth-XVth centuries)
Edina Bozoky
7. The middleness of ritual magic
Frank Klaassen
8. Enchantment in medieval literature
Lea Olsan
9. Constructing exotic animals and environments in late medieval Britain
Aleks Pluskowski


Sophie Page is Lecturer in Late Medieval History at University College London

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