Excrement in the Late Middle Ages: Sacred Filth and by S. Morrison

By S. Morrison

This interdisciplinary ebook intergrates the historic practices concerning fabric excrement and its symbolic illustration, concluding that excrement is an ethical and moral type deserving scrutiny.

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Extra info for Excrement in the Late Middle Ages: Sacred Filth and Chaucer's Fecopoetics (The New Middle Ages)

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424). 36 He chastises those who reveal their buttocks, linked to stinking excrement. In his diatribe against lechery, the Parson again invokes excrement repeatedly, here against adultery. 37 For the Parson, excrement is to be linked with sin, particularly sins linked with sexual overtones such as lechery or pride in clothes inciting sexual attention. In these univalent moments, excrement suggests humiliation, debasement, discord, and sin. Figurative and Symbolic Middle English Words for Excrement One way we negate our animal selves is by extending literal words for elimination into the figurative and symbolic realms.

16 What the world treasures and admires is just dung or filth, that which has no true worth in terms of Christian history, and is a sign of foulness and perfidity. Hellish Stench In the neoplatonic tradition as developed by Plotinus, material is visible, physical, and imperfect. It is ontological refuse—dirty, dark, and formless—a kind of existential anarchy. 17 The range of biblical semantics combined with the neoplatonic tradition carries over into medieval valences. ”20 The symbolic valence of filth within Christian thought is present in material depictions of hell, one we can see taking form in the Anglo-Saxon period.

58 She uses excrement to judge and implicate the moral and social behavior of people at court. ”59 While the material is useful in the country, to be 36 E XC R E M E N T I N T H E L AT E M I DDL E AGE S daubed with filth is nonetheless humiliating, especially since the victim is a doctor and not himself a farmer. In the Fifth Story of the Second Day in The Decameron, Fiammetta tells the story of the hapless Andreuccio who goes to Naples. ” A page indicates where he can relieve himself and Andreuccio succeeds in almost dying.

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