Volume 5.1, 2009

Monsters and Monstrosities in the Middle Ages

Letter from the Editor

Monstrous Landscapes: The Interdependence of Meaning Between Monster and Landscape in Beowulf–By Charlotte Ball

Reading and visualising the landscape in Beowulf is, like most elements of the poem, an ambiguous and dreamlike experience. The narrative both constructs and is constructed by isolated images of specific locations. In this paper I intend demonstrate that the monstrous margins in Beowulf are imbued with more than simply distance from the centre. In order to understand the monstrousness of the margins and their inhabitants we need to look at the symbolic value of these far flung landscapes themselves.

Monstrous Conversions: Recovering the Sacramental Bodies of the Passion of St. Christopher–By Arthur J. Russell

This article examines the monstrous attributes of the dog-headed St. Christopher and his struggle to convert the pagan king Dagnus in the Old English Passion of St. Christopher. St. Christopher’s body is a monstrous body unlike any found in the Beowulf–manuscript because it does not serve to affirm normative cultural values as negative contrast, but rather seeks to convert them. Dagnus cannot overcome the monster because he, that he might eternally live, must become like a monster.

Marginal Beings: Hybrids as the Other in Late Medieval Manuscripts–By Heidi Thimann

This paper concerns the hybrids in the margins of medieval psalters and Books of Hours. In showing examples from the Rutland Psalter, the Luttrell Psalter, and The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, I ask what are these hybrids’ role in medieval visual culture and how do they operate to construct a type of other in what may seem to be very pious texts. I suggest that the figures’ carnality and monstrous embodiment is a type of mirror of otherness within the intended reader/viewer.

BOOK REVIEW: Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf Manuscript (Andy Orchard)–By Timothy S. Miller

BOOK REVIEW: Deformed Discourse: The Function of the Monster in Mediaeval Thought and Literature (David Williams)–By Francis Tobienne, Jr.

BOOK REVIEW: Of Giants: Sex, Monsters, and the Middle Ages (Jeffrey Jerome Cohen)–By Melissa Ridley Elmes

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