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The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

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A context for The Faerie Queene

in which works of art have been produced, but some works using this approach have been criticized for reckless generalization – extrapolating whole climates of thought from small morsels of contemporary gossip or single anecdotes – and for reading every text and historical situation for its analysis of power relations, ignoring other motivations for the production of art and the practice of religion. Among the historical studies produced in the second half of the twentieth century are a handful that drew attention to annotations in early printed copies of The

in Spenserian allegory and Elizabethan biblical exegesis
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Reformed indifferently

, was expounded by Foucault mainly back at the Collège de France, awareness of the extent to which the philosopher of discipline and punishment had moved on from the dark materials of his carceral society has only slowly percolated the anglophone academy, with the release of the tape-​recorded sessions. But as Eric Paras asserts in one of the few studies yet to absorb the ‘mark 2 Foucault’, the significance of this late discovery of ‘life style’ can hardly be exaggerated, as it means that the same man ‘created the twentieth century’s most devastating critique of the

in Forms of faith
Confessional conflict and Elizabethan romances

M. Suzuki, Metamorphoses of Helen:  Authority, Difference, and the Epic (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), p. 164. 47 R. Tuve, Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery: Renaissance Poetic and Twentieth-​ Century Critic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947), p. 221. 48 Suzuki, Metamorphosis of Helen, p. 164. 49 This attitude comes particularly to the fore in the Old Arcadia, in which the narrator is more overt and borders on becoming homodiegetic. Here, he explicitly declares his ‘compassion’ with Pyrocles (p. 25). The narrator’s affectionate view

in Forms of faith

.), Enterprise and Individuals in Fifteenth Century Europe (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1991), pp. 132–50, p. 134. 45 Cohen, Symbolic Construction of Community, p. 50. 46 I will discuss this in detail in Chapter 3. 47 Smith, To Take Place, p. 104. 48 Brereton, ‘Sacred space’, p. 534. 49 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 220. 50 Victor Turner, ‘Frame, flow, and reflection: ritual and drama as public liminality’, in Michel Benamou and Charles Caramelo (eds), Performance in Postmodern Culture (Milwaukee: Center for Twentieth Century Studies, University of Wisconsin

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture

measurements, the manuscript closes resolutely with the phrase, ‘Finit Liber II. Amen’. 6 Nineteenth-century scholars such as John Josias Conybeare, Benjamin Thorpe, and Bernhard ten Brink assumed that the poem was fragmentary and that it must have been arranged in a piecemeal or even arbitrary fashion. 7 Friedrich Groschopp likewise saw structural incompatibilities in the poem owing to its blending of narrative-dramatic and hortatory-homi-letic elements. 8 These perceived shortcomings were reiterated in the twentieth century by scholars such as C. Abbetmeyer. 9 The

in Rebel angels