Surgeon in Medieval English Literature (New Middle Ages Series) / Edition 1

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The medieval English surgeon was subject to a huge variety of cultural perceptions, ranging from that of pitiless butcher to sanctified healer. The bloody craft of surgery served as a uniquely encompassing metaphor for later medieval Christian identity, as defined by the urgent struggle between damnation and salvation articulated so vividly in Middle English poetry and prose. Citrome employs a variety of critical approaches to explain how surgical metaphors became an important tool of ecclesiastical power in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. Pastoral, theological, recreational, and medical writings are among the texts discussed in this wide-ranging study.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Citrome leaves almost no leaf unturbaned in this comprehensive exploration of surgery in medical and religious writings of later medieval England. His delineation of the concurrent development of the new view of surgery and the emphasis on personal penitence in the centuries following the Fourth Lateran Council is very compelling, as is his argument for the metaphorical significance of surgery in penitential treatises. His re-interpretations of Cleanness, Siege of Jerusalem, and John Audelay's poems are provocative, to say the least, and demand a reconsideration of their artistry. This book should make us all more conscious of how contemporary medicine understanding influenced both the assumptions of and forms of expression in Middle English literature."—George R. Keiser, Professor of English, Kansas State University; author of The Middle English 'Boke of Stones': The Southern Version (1984) and A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050-1500, Vol. 10: Science and Information (1998)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403968463
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 10/14/2006
  • Series: The New Middle Ages Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeremy Citrome received his PhD in English from the University of Leeds, UK, and has published articles on the Pearl-Poet and the fourteenth-century surgeon John Arderne. He has taught at the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and Dalhousie University, and is currently Assistant Professor of English at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Table of Contents

I: Medicine as Metaphor
• Introduction: Medieval Surgery and the Social Power of Metaphor
• The Wounds of Sin
II: Damnation and Salvation
• Surgery as Damnation: Cleanness
• Surgery as Salvation: The Siege of Jerusalem
III: Surgery and Selfhood
• Surgery and the Surgeon: The Practica of John Arderne
• Surgery and the Priest: The Penitential Poetry of John Audelay
• Surgery and the Secular Reader: "Betere is hire medycyn"
• Conclusion: Whole and Sound?

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