Visual Culture And The German Middle Ages

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This multidisciplinary collection of essays draws on various theoretical approaches to explore the highly visual nature of the Middle Ages and expose new facets of old texts and artifacts. The term "visual culture" has been used in recent years to refer to modern media theory, film, modern art and other contemporary representational forms and functions. But this interest in visuality is not only a modern phenomenon. Discourses on visual processes pervade the works of medieval theologians, scholastics, and secular poets alike. The Middle Ages was a highly visual period in which images, objects, and performance played a dominant communicative and representative role in both secular and religious areas of society. The essays in this volume, which present various perspectives on medieval visual culture, provide a critical historical basis for the study of visuality and visual processes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“For English-speaking scholars working on the relations between text and image, or between vocal performance and visual presentation in manuscript, or between devotional visualization and vernacular reading practice, this book provides an invaluable introduction to the work being done on these subjects in German. Provocative and wide-ranging, the essays move from heraldic shields, wall paintings, epic poems, and systems of musical notation, to sermon manuscripts, mystical visions, and sixteenth-century pictorial Bibles. Throughout, the contributors pay due attention both to artefacts and to the cultural codes by which these artefacts are read, and the result is a sophisticated and rigorous interdisciplinary discussion of medieval audiovisual culture."--Andrew Taylor, University of Ottawa, Canada

"The essays in this collection provide altogether fascinating and brilliant analyses of visuality at its intersections with aurality and/or literacy in the Middle Ages. This collection of essay does indeed demonstrate the breadth and innovation of recent German medieval scholarship. The discussion of (medieval) visual culture in North America has mainly drawn on research on Anglo-Norman and Romance literatures. At the same time, a separate but similar discussion has been going on among scholars of German literature, history, and culture. This volume of essays, dealing almost exclusively with German source materials, bridges that gap and makes this continental debate available to a wider audience. Therefore, the essays in this collection, by a roster of excellently qualified scholars in the field, are a most valuable contribution to the ongoing debates and serve well to broaden the international and interdisciplinary scholarship on early visual culture." -- Sabine Modersheim, Monatshefte

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403964441
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Series: New Middle Ages Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathryn Starkey is assistant professor at the University of North Carolina.

Horst Wenzel is professor at the Humboldt University, Berlin.

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Table of Contents

Visual Culture ans the Middle Ages--Kathryn Starkey
Part I: New Visions in Medieval Studies
• Word and Image as a Field of Research: Sound Methodologies or just a Fashionable Trend? A Polemic from a European Perspective--Norbert H. Ott
Part II: Intermediality
• Writing--Speech--Image: The Competition of Signs--Jan-Dirk Muller
• The Shield as a Poetic Screen: Early Blazon and the Visualization of Medieval German Literature, 1150-1300--Haiko Wandhoff
• Written Communication in the Illustrated Epic Poem--Ulrich Ernst
Part III: Rethinking Manuscript Culture *The Fluid Text: Observations on the History of Transmission and Textual Criticism of the Thirteenth-century Courtly Epic--Joachim Bumke
• Images at the Interface: Orality, Literacy, and the Pictorialization of the Roland Material--James Rushing, Jr.
• Visualizing Performance?: Music, Word, and Manuscript--Volker Mertens
Part IV: Spiritual Visions
• The "Handwritings of Humanity": Johannes Tauler on Hildegard of Bingern's Liber Scivias--Jeffrey F. Hamburger
• Scripture, Vision, Performance: Visionary Texts and Medieval Religious Drama--Niklaus Largier
Part V: Word, Image, and Technology
Logos and the Press: Christ in the Wine-Press and the Development of Printing--Horst Wenzel
• From the Word of God to the Emblem--Thomas Cramer
• Contributors

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