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Affective medievalismLove, abjection and discontent$
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Thomas Prendergast and Stephanie Trigg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526126863

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526126863.001.0001

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Fear, error and death: The abjection of the Middle Ages

Fear, error and death: The abjection of the Middle Ages

(p.70) 3 Fear, error and death: The abjection of the Middle Ages
Affective medievalism

Thomas A. Prendergast

Stephanie Trigg

Manchester University Press

As a disciplinary formation, Medieval Studies has long been structured by authoritative hierarchies and conservative scholarly decorums; the associated fear of error in medieval studies dates back to the Renaissance and the Protestant reformation. In contrast, medievalism increasingly celebrates creative play and imaginative invention. Such invention inevitably produces anxiety about historical accuracy. Popular scholarship and journalism in turn are often attracted to the abject otherness of the Middle Ages, especially the torture practices associated with its judicial systems. Such practices are designed to solicit the truth, and so, like illness, mortality and death, they are a useful double trope through which to analyse the relationship between medieval and medievalist approaches to the past.

Keywords:   error, Reformation, abjection, torture, Freud, Catherine of Siena, mortality, death

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