Death and Dying in the Middle Ages

Death and Dying in the Middle Ages

Death and Dying in the Middle Ages

Death and Dying in the Middle Ages

Synopsis

"Death and Dying in the Middle Ages examines medical facts and communal arrangements, as well as religious and popular beliefs and rituals concerning the end of life in Western societies. It studies literary and artistic imaging and the underlying philosophical and theological convictions that shaped medieval attitudes toward death. A collection of eighteen articles by contributors in the Western hemisphere, this new compendium on death and its implications will interest the specialist, the student and teacher of cultural history, religion, folklore, psychology, literature, and art, and also the general public." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A considerable bibliography on death and dying has been assembled in the last fifty years, when, simultaneously, and for good reason, the number of retired persons has risen by seventy-one percent. As late as the 1960s, a doctoral dissertation on the theme of death in French poetry of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was still considered too avant-garde to be taken seriously in the United States, while nowadays there would be no objections. Indeed, a burgeoning interest in the late-medieval preoccupation with death has given rise to a number of publications, such as the scholarship of Thomas S. R. Boase, Philippe Ariès, Richard Huntington, Kathleen Cohen, Alois M. Haas, Christine Martineau-Génieys, Danièle Alexandre-Bidon and Cécile Treffort, as well as Daniel Schäfer and Paul Binski. In addition, Edelgard E. DuBruck's publications on this theme, with its various manifestations and implications, have kept this subject progressive and timely.

We have therefore decided that the time has come for a thorough assessment of scholarship to the present day, opening new vistas into one of the major preoccupations of medieval humankind. While our approach is international and interdisciplinary, this collection of articles appears exclusively in English (translation, where necessary). We have assembled a team of known specialists and combined their efforts to present a marketable volume, enhanced by a comprehensive bibliography and an index. The collection will interest the medievalist, the folklorist, the student of humanities and of archeology, as well as the general public. Moreover, the scholar of religious history, along with students of literature and the fine arts, will find interesting perspectives in this book.

Death and dying are complex phenomena. While dying is often a slow process, death itself is perceived to be an instantaneous event . . .

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