A prostitute might be indispensable to society, but she was still, in the eyes of the pious,
a habitual, blatant sinner and an endangered soul. It was as if Catholic communities excused their tolerance for immoral women by urging them to repent and by supporting
religious institutions which would enable a small proportion of them to do so. Cities
contained enclaves devoted to special goodness and special badness: nunneries which
eschewed sexual activity, at least in principle, vice districts intended for the evacuation
Three lives of the chess-player in medieval and early-modern literature
Sinner, melancholic, and animal: three
lives of the chess-player in medieval
and early-modern literature
At the margins
From the arrival of chess in medieval Europe, the chess-player was a troubling figure, raising issues concerning sin, leisure, intellect, and emotion. The
assumed Islamic origins of the game and its associations with a number of vices
related to play pushed the chess-player into a marginal space in a society defined
by Christian regulation and authority. Yet, in parallel, the chess-player and the
game found secure footings within highly
This paper explores the occult relationship between modern psychoanalysis and the pre-Freudian psychoanalysis of James Hogg‘s 1824 Gothic novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Haunted by the ghosts of Mesmerism and of Calvinisms rabidly contagious religious fervour, Hogg‘s novel explodes post-Lockean paradigms of the subject for a post-Romantic British culture on the eve of the Empire. Turning back to Scotland‘s turbulent political and religious history, the novel looks forward to the problems of Empire by turning Locke‘s sense-making and sensible subject into the subject of an unconscious ripe for ideological exploitation, a subject mesmerized by the process of making sense of himself.
Where should we look to find the first forays of International Relations (IR) theory? The turbulent era that followed the collapse of Rome is a good place to begin. This chapter shows how authors of these ‘Dark Ages’ touched several of the broader issues of international affairs. First among these were questions concerning the causes of war, the nature of diplomacy and the preconditions for peace. The chapter notes that early discussions on these themes took place within three distinct civilizations: in Byzantium, the Islamic world and in the unruly region of the north-Atlantic rim. This latter region – the ‘Far West’ – was at first inferior to the other two civilizations. Yet, it was here that systematic discussions of international relations first evolved. These discussions were affected by the feudal nature of Western society. They were also steeped in the Christian religion – as is evident in the writings of Capella and Augustine. However, over time there emerged theories that were also influenced by texts from pre-Christian Greece and from imperial Rome. This is indicated by the writings of St. Thomas, Pierre Dubois, Marsiglio of Padua, and others.
This essay draws on Julia Kristeva‘s concept of ‘borderline’ experience, a feature of psychotic discourse, to examine the representation of madness, split personality and sociopathic behaviour in James Hogg‘s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and the contemporary, muted Gothic of John Burnside‘s The Locust Room (2001). The main characteristics of borderline experience - a concern with authenticity and the proper name, with uncertain boundaries between inside and outside, truth and delusion - are central concerns in Hogg and Burnside, and the essay assesses the value of borderline discourse for a critical reading of madness in Gothic.
A chess-player is not simply one who plays chess just as a chess piece is not simply a wooden block. Shaped by expectations and imaginations, the figure occupies the centre of a web of a thousand radiations where logic meets dream, and reason meets play. This book aspires to a novel reading of the figure as both a flickering beacon of reason and a sign of monstrosity. It is underpinned by the idea that the chess-player is a pluralistic subject used to articulate a number of anxieties pertaining to themes of mind, machine, and monster. The history of the cultural chess-player is a spectacle, a collision of tradition and recycling, which rejects the idea of the statuesque chess-player. The book considers three lives of the chess-player. The first as sinner (concerning behavioural and locational contexts), as a melancholic (concerning mind-bending and affective contexts), and as animal (concerning cognitive aspects and the idea of human-ness) from the medieval to the early-modern within non-fiction. The book then considers the role of the chess-player in detective fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to Raymond Chandler, contrasting the perceived relative intellectual reputation and social utility of the chess-player and the literary detective. IBM's late-twentieth-century supercomputer Deep Blue, Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1769 Automaton Chess-Player and Garry Kasparov's 1997 defeat are then examined. The book examines portrayals of the chess-player within comic-books of the mid-twentieth century, considering themes of monstrous bodies, masculinities, and moralities. It focuses on the concepts of the child prodigy, superhero, and transhuman.
The third quarter of Ashmole 61 teems with devotional texts that deploy varied strategies in pursuit of the household community's spiritual education and refinement: Maidstone's Seven Penitential Psalms (item 32), The
Prick of Conscience Minor (item 33), a fused poem combining The Adulterous Falmouth Squire and The Sinner's Lament (item 35), The Wounds and the Sins (item 38), and Vanity (item 40).
A number of these poems were very popular among medieval
fascination with the
sounds of birds, for example (whether considered music or not),
Peraldus, too, references avian songs, but he understands them as
inarticulate noises that keep the sinner focused on a cloying
joyfulness and not on the urgent need for sombre contemplation
instead of frivolous mirth. 15 In his treatment of the vice of sloth,
birdsong resounds for Peraldus as the
Social sadomasochism plays
important roles in the discipline of sinners as advocated in the
early penitentials. These manuals, created between the sixth and
ninth centuries to facilitate the discipline of sinners, employ a
consistent ‘rhetoric of disgust’ in their discussions
of various sins and appropriate punishments according to a principle
of curing a sin with the imposition of its opposing virtue. 1 For conspicuous
sins, such as disobedience, sexual deviance, and violence, the