Fear, error and death
The abjection of the Middle Ages
in Affective medievalism
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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.

Affective medievalism

Love, abjection and discontent


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