A Companion to Middle English Hagiography by Sarah Salih

By Sarah Salih

The saints have been the superheroes and the stars of medieval England, bridging the distance among heaven and earth, the dwelling and the lifeless. an unlimited physique of literature advanced through the center a long time to make sure that every person, from kings to peasants, knew the tales of the lives, deaths and afterlives of the saints. in spite of the fact that, regardless of its attractiveness and ubiquity, the style of the Saint's lifestyles has till lately been little studied. This assortment introduces the canon of heart English hagiography; areas it within the context of the cults of saints; analyses key issues inside hagiographic narrative, together with gender, strength, violence and historical past; and, eventually, indicates how hagiographic subject matters survived the Reformation. total it deals either details for these coming to the style for the 1st time, and issues ahead to new tendencies in learn. Dr SARAH SALIH is Senior Lecturer in English, King's collage London. individuals: SAMANTHA RICHES, MARY BETH lengthy, CLAIRE M. WATERS, ROBERT generators, ANKE BERNAU, KATHERINE J. LEWIS, MATTHEW WOODCOCK

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A Companion to Middle English Hagiography

The saints have been the superheroes and the stars of medieval England, bridging the space among heaven and earth, the dwelling and the useless. an enormous physique of literature advanced through the heart a while to make sure that every person, from kings to peasants, knew the tales of the lives, deaths and afterlives of the saints.

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Finally, Woodcock explores the rough edges of hagiography, the generic impurities and crossovers which enabled many of its constituent parts to survive the Reformation. Hagiography in Context 1 Hagiography in Context: Images, Miracles, Shrines and Festivals SAMANTHA RICHES All historical evidence – written, visual, archaeological or folkloric – comes into being within a specific context. As historians, whether professional academics or amateur enthusiasts, it is vital that we try to reconstruct as much of the context of production and usage as we can so that we are able to engage with this evidence appropriately.

15, 32. 32 SAMANTHA RICHES cults (see Appendix). 11 It is likely that both here and at Norwich a fragment of bone, reputed to be from the arm of the saint, was kept in a substantial reliquary. However, it is by no means impossible that the compilers of these inventories were writing about entire arms. 12 We know that the St George Guild took part in a great annual procession of Norwich guilds and crafts on the feast of Corpus Christi, and that there was a Guild feast at Christmas, but the most important date in their calendar was undoubtedly St George’s Day (23rd April).

In most cases, though, these favours had to be earned: there is considerable evidence that saints’ cults in the medieval period operated on a quid pro quo basis, as ‘payments’ in the forms of offerings, pilgrimage and other actions were made either in the hope of prayers being answered or in thanks for aid received. The written life of a saint thus operated within a much wider context of veneration, and needs to be set within a panoply of other means of glorification and supplication, both public and private.

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