Sin and Filth in Medieval Culture: The Devil in the Latrine

Overview

As a cultural history of the unclean in the Middle Ages, this important contribution to the history of the body analyzes the role of filth as the material counterpart of sin in medieval thought. Using a wide range of texts, including theology, historical documents, and literature from Augustine to Chaucer, the book shows how filth was regarded as fundamental to an understanding of human history. In particular, the Bayless focuses on the body as a highly charged site of sin and filth, and delineates the ways in ...

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Sin and Filth in Medieval Culture: The Devil in the Latrine

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Overview

As a cultural history of the unclean in the Middle Ages, this important contribution to the history of the body analyzes the role of filth as the material counterpart of sin in medieval thought. Using a wide range of texts, including theology, historical documents, and literature from Augustine to Chaucer, the book shows how filth was regarded as fundamental to an understanding of human history. In particular, the Bayless focuses on the body as a highly charged site of sin and filth, and delineates the ways in which the arrangement, processes, and products of the body served to structure thought about the cosmos. In addition to elucidating the medieval model of sin and filth, Bayless explores the ways in which these associations were articulated in a wide range of medieval narratives, images, and exegesis. The whole forms the first full account of the sanitary attitudes and practices of medieval society, informed by modern scholarly thought on purity systems, religious practice, and the unclean.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415897808
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/12/2012
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha Bayless is Associate Professor of English at the University of Oregon, US.

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Table of Contents

1. The Devil in the Latrine 2. Pollution and Filth in the Middle Ages: Material Realities 3. The Symbolic Order of the Body 4. The Realm of Corruption 5. In Conclusion

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