Themed Issue: Enemies in the Middle Ages
In this article Reilly identifies the demon in panel 12a of the St. William window in the York Minster and associates it with a miracle about a demon under the guise of an Ethiopian from the Vita Sancti Willelmi. Panel 12a has been unattached to any miracle despite the overwhelming amount of scholarship concerning the window and the miracles of St. William; it has been simply identified as a panel of a devil chasing a man. The article correlates imagery and texts concerning Ethiopians as enemies and demons with the Vita Sancti Willelmi and panel 12a’s iconography. The article also compares Panel 12a and this miracle text to stereotypes of Ethiopians in the Middle Ages as the greatest supernatural enemies of man—the disciples of Satan—and how they were typically fashioned in the guise of demonic iconography.
The body as an object of representation in late medieval literary texts gestures towards a number of cultural paradigms defining and orienting the figures and norms of corporeity. This article seeks to show how the literary treatment of such paradigms contributes to question and destabilize topical images of late medieval literary culture by exposing them to creative reconfiguration. This narrative treatment exposes the body as the product as much as the agent of the cultural norms organizing its use and representation. The text discussed here—the Middle English popular romance Le Bone Florence of Rome—stages the tropes of the senile fabliau body, the virgin, the persecuted wife, the damsel in distress, the sublime body of the martyr and re-invests them with traits that exceed and subvert the type, thus exposing it as the object of narrative play and re-appropriation. Further, these paradigmatic shifts are accompanied by a reflection on language and its enunciative agency. In this text both the body and the language acts it gives rise to are profaned. No longer assigned to a delimited sphere of representation, they become available to the play of narrative use.
CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS SECTION
Note from the Editor
This is an abstract of Dr. Melleno’s paper, which he presented in the Hortulus-sponsored session at the 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday, May 10, 2014.
This is a modified version of the paper Mr. Bowen presented in the Hortulus-sponsored session at the 49th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday, May 10, 2014.