The Secret Middle Ages: Discovering the Real Medieval World

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Overview

Using the wealth of medieval art, much of it unseen or ignored by museums and art historians, Jones paints a compelling picture of life as imagined by the masses between 1200 and 1500. The civilization that emerges is both like and unlike our own, one teeming with the richness of life and its contradictions. In contrast to most medieval studies, Jones does not focus exclusively on religious or aristocratic art, but looks instead to the products of popular and folk art, such as jewelry, tableware, illustrations, carvings, and textiles. All evoke the vivid creative imagination and strong visual culture of the middle ages.

This book offers a major reassessment of the high medieval period. Medievalists and those interested in the history of language and customs will find it to be essential reading. Richly illustrated, it provides a brilliant and evocative picture of medieval Europe by a leading authority on medieval folklore. As Jones writes, gems and precious metals may dazzle the eye, but a pewter brooch, though it may look tawdry, is of more real significance and tells us more about the middle ages than a treasure chest of royal jewels.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275979805
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

MALCOLM JONES is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgements
Conventions and Abbreviations
1 Love, Death and Biscuits 1
2 Magical Metal, Silly Saints and Risible Relics: the Art and Artefacts of Popular Religion 13
3 Licked into Shape: Animal Symbolism 34
4 Why Englishmen Have Tails: Race, Nationality and Monstrosity 62
5 Signs of Infamy: the Iconography of Humiliation and Insult 76
6 The Fool and the Attributes of Folly 100
7 Shoeing the Goose: Proverbs and Proverbial Follies 121
8 Nonsense, Pure and Applied 144
9 Narratives - Heroic and Not So Heroic 171
10 Hearts and Flowers and Parrots: the Iconography of Love 196
11 Who Wears the Trousers: Gender Relations 226
12 Wicked Willies with Wings: Sex and Sexuality 248
13 Tailpiece: the Uses of Scatology 274
Conclusion 295
Notes and References 300
Index 366
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