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Metamorphosis and Identity : Zone Books - Caroline Walker Bynum

Metamorphosis and Identity

Zone Books


Published: 1st October 2005
For Ages: 18+ years old
Ships: 3 to 4 business days
3 to 4 business days
RRP $38.99

An exploration of the roles of metamorphosis and hybridity in the establishment of personal identity, with particular emphasis on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The four studies in this book center on the Western obsession with the nature of personal identity. Focusing on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but with an eye toward antiquity and the present, Caroline Walker Bynum explores the themes of metamorphosis and hybridity in genres ranging from poetry, folktales, and miracle collections to scholastic theology, devotional treatises, and works of natural philosophy. She argues that the obsession with boundary-crossing and otherness was an effort to delineate nature's regularities and to establish a strong sense of personal identity, extending even beyond the grave. She examines historical figures such as Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, Bernard Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, as well as modern fabulists such as Angela Carter, as examples of solutions to the perennial question of how the individual can both change and remain constant. Addressing the fundamental question for historians-that of change-Bynum also explores the nature of history writing itself.

Bynum is asking that even while we deploy all the tricks and tools of modern historical analysis, we take seriously the obligation to marvel at the complexity, at the otherness, of the medieval world, a world that we will never perfectly understand and yet that seems to point to something worth understanding.

-- Patrick J. Geary, The New Republic

Over the past 30 years, Bynum has published an initially contentious series of books that have illuminated many aspects of the oddness of the medieval world... This time she focuses on Christians' intense devotion to objects that they believed both signaled and embodied God's essence and glory.

* The Chronicle of Higher Education *

Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Introduction: Change in the Middle Agesp. 15
The Ulster Werewolvesp. 15
Change: The Conceptp. 19
Change and the Twelfth Centuryp. 22
Hybrid and Metamorphosisp. 28
Some Methodological Considerationsp. 33
Wonderp. 37
Recent Scholarship on Wonder and Wondersp. 40
The Many Wonder Discourses of the Middle Agesp. 42
Theological and Philosophical Discussionp. 48
Admiratio in Devotional Literaturep. 51
The Marvelous in Literature of Entertainmentp. 53
The Range of Wonder Responsesp. 56
Wonder and Significancep. 69
Wonder as Cognitive, Perspectival, and Non-appropriativep. 72
Wonder and the Modern Historianp. 73
Metamorphosis, or Gerald and the Werewolfp. 77
Again the Question of Bodily Changep. 79
Ovidian Poetry as Fascination with Changep. 86
Theological Speculation on Growth and Changep. 89
Werewolf Stories as Testing of Boundariesp. 92
The Ovid Reception as Enthusiasm for Orderp. 98
Learned Theology and Miracle Stories as Ontological Controlp. 101
Were Medieval Werewolves Really Metempsychosis?p. 105
Conclusionp. 109
Monsters, Medians, and Marvelous Mixtures: Hybrids in the Spirituality of Bernard of Clairvauxp. 113
Mixture and Monsterp. 117
Similitude and Doublenessp. 127
Change and Unitasp. 131
Natural Philosophy as the Context of Bernard's Understandingp. 144
Twelfth-Century Religious Life as Contextp. 147
Literature and Art as Contextp. 150
Conclusion: Hybridity in the Spirituality of Bernard of Clairvauxp. 158
Shape and Storyp. 163
The Problem of Personal Identityp. 163
Some Stories About Werewolves: Ovid's Lycaonp. 166
Some Stories About Werewolves: Marie de France's Bisclavretp. 170
Stories About Werewolves and Metamorphosis: Angela Carterp. 173
Metamorphosis and Identityp. 176
Shape and Story, Body and Narrativep. 180
Metamorphosis in Dantep. 182
Conclusionp. 187
Afterwordp. 191
Notesp. 195
Photo Creditsp. 275
Indexp. 277
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781890951238
ISBN-10: 1890951234
Series: Zone Books
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st October 2005
Publisher: Zone Books
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.48