Volume 8.1, 2012

Letter from the Editor

Compromise and Integration: A Study of the 1243 Dispute Between the Bishop of Valencia and the Knights Hospitaller–by Ryan Storr

This article analyzes the legal proceedings of the 1243 dispute between the Hospitallers and the bishop of Valencia, Arnau de Peralta. The Knights prompted the 1243 dispute by refusing to pay any ecclesiastical taxes to the bishop from the five Hospitaller-controlled parish churches; but the issues debated in the arbitration, such as the tithe, burial fees, visitation responsibilities and appointment of rectors, reflect a larger conflict within the Catholic Church—the integration of regular and secular clergy within the diocesan structure. A close analysis of this case provides information on the Hospitaller’s activities in the region and their responsibilities to the laity.  Above all, it reveals the compromises that both parties in the dispute needed to make, in order to assimilate Hospitaller-owned parishes within the diocesan structure. The compromise established a precedent for later arbitrations between the diocese and the other military orders, such as the Knights of Santiago and Calatrava, in the Kingdom of Valencia.

Heroides and (Anti-)Heroines: Gendered Discourse in Boccaccio’s Elegia di madonna Fiammetta–By Sarah J. Todd

As the only Boccaccian text to have been narrated from the perspective of an omniscient female protagonist, the Elegia di madonna Fiammetta provides much scope for discussion regarding the gendering of testimonies. This paper will examine the problems associated with trans-gendered accounts — that is to say, narratives which ensue from both male and female voices — and will also discuss medieval theories of the relationship between sex and literature. I will argue that Fiammetta’s manipulation of classical literature, and specifically Ovid’s epistolary Heroides, is key to our understanding of the text as a commentary on medieval literary habits.

To Touch the Divine: Picturing Christocentric Touch in Late Medieval Passion Devotion–By Nicole Pulichene

This article explores a selection of late medieval panel paintings of the Deposition and Lamentation in which Christocentric touch, defined as the potential to engage in a tactile relationship with Christ, functions as a central component of affective piety which is offered to the viewer-devotee through the representation of the crucified Christ and his followers.  I argue that the specific repertoire of gestures, bodily comportments, and forms of touch performed by the figures gathered around Christ’s body informed the devotee’s imitation and imagined participation in Christocentric devotion.  It is a system of meditation that is corporeal and tactile, yet also metaphorical.  Further, the works discussed in this paper suggest thata polyvalent approach to modeling and performing imaginative Christocentric devotion was actively promoted through medieval visual culture.

Memory and Identity Formation: A Cognitive Construction of the Self in ‘The Wanderer’–By Brent LaPadula

Modern advances in the social sciences and humanities have benefitted the critical study of literature throughout the 20th century.  Similarly, these advances have also found their way into the study of the Middle Ages, and more specifically, the study of medieval literature.  It is to this tradition and growing scholarship that this article adds its findings, by looking at, and utilizing as a methodology, the modern theory of identity formation by way of memory application.  This article discusses the Old-English elegy, The Wanderer, and investigates how the wanderer himself attains the modern (post-Renaissance) notion of self, by consciously employing his memory in a series of stages throughout the poem, and thus creating a new personal-self via memory self-formation.  Ultimately, The Wanderer reveals not only what selfhood meant to this fictional Anglo-Saxon, but also how the self could change over one’s lifetime in the Anglo-Saxon world.

BOOK REVIEW: The Two Latin Cultures and the Foundation of Renaissance  Humanism in Medieval Italy (Ronald G. Witt)–By Charles Carroll

BOOK REVIEW: Enchantment (C. Stephen Jaeger)–By Stephen Barker

BOOK REVIEW: Medieval Anchoritisms: Gender, Space and the Solitary Life (Liz Herbert McAvoy)–By Jacob Doss

BOOK REVIEW: King John: An Underrated King (Graham E. Seel)–By Geneviève Pigeon

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