I'm interested in exploring what happens to ideas of the body in the medieval period. Presumably Albert's reintroduction of Aristotle and the overall renewed engagement with classical texts influences contemporary discourses on the body. I've looked at your blog, and while interesting, doesn't turn up a book or books that I should read to get a sense of what's happening ... I like the ideas of the body as not unified but an ever-changing conglomeration of things; this works well with what I understand of humoral theory and how different foods create different humoral tendencies. Also, Will Fisher's work will be interesting here, though focused on the early modern period. Anyway, should I look at ... Peggy McCracken, Joan Cadden -- where should I go for this?What do you say, everyone? What's your favorite work on the medieval body? What is indispensable? What work still needs to be done?
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
M. Lindsay Kaplan at Georgetown University is working on a big project involving Jews and race in the Middle Ages. I got to know her work quite well when I was asked to evaluate an essay she'd submitted to Shakespeare Quarterly ("Jessica’s Mother: Medieval Constructions of Jewish Race and Gender"-- an innovative and original piece that foregrounds the female body in early modern Jewishness). After presenting her work in progress at GW's Medieval and Early Modern Studies seminar last week, Lindsay sent me the following query via email. I asked if rather than responding to it myself, could I post it to ITM? Because medieval bodies have been my obsession since graduate school, at this point I would without thinking roll out a bludgeoning list of bibliography that perhaps would not well illustrate what's essential and what isn't. I'm genuinely curious: how would ITM's readers answer the following question from Lindsay?