By Sarah Salih
The saints have been the superheroes and the stars of medieval England, bridging the distance among heaven and earth, the residing and the useless. an unlimited physique of literature developed in the course of the heart a while to make sure that each person, from kings to peasants, knew the tales of the lives, deaths and afterlives of the saints. despite the fact that, regardless of its recognition and ubiquity, the style of the Saint's existence has till lately been little studied. This assortment introduces the canon of heart English hagiography; locations it within the context of the cults of saints; analyses key issues inside hagiographic narrative, together with gender, strength, violence and historical past; and, ultimately, indicates how hagiographic subject matters survived the Reformation. total it deals either details for these coming to the style for the 1st time, and issues ahead to new traits in examine.
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Extra resources for A Companion to Middle English Hagiography
These types of performative activities were a significant part of medieval cultural and communal life. 17 The ceremonies began on the eve of the feast with evensong in the cathedral, which all members of the Guild were expected to attend. The feast day itself began with a breakfast of wine, bread and cheese, refreshments which were also provided by the Guild during the main focus of the day’s events, the Riding itself. 18 This choice of location underlines the contention that a representation of George’s victory could be used to signify the urbs overcoming the wilderness.
3 George was primarily associated with the traditions of the Latin Church, and ultimately a saint of the Eastern Mediterranean, but he shares common ground with Edmund, a product of the pre-Conquest English Church, for both have strong associations with England. 5 However, both saints were frequently invoked as patrons of the English monarchy in the later Middle Ages; Edmund’s role as an ‘English’ king made him eminently suitable for this role on one level, although his martyrdom at the hands of an enemy of England, which left his kingdom vulnerable to invaders, meant that his actual abilities as a king were rather less than first-rate.
In most cases, though, these favours had to be earned: there is considerable evidence that saints’ cults in the medieval period operated on a quid pro quo basis, as ‘payments’ in the forms of offerings, pilgrimage and other actions were made either in the hope of prayers being answered or in thanks for aid received. The written life of a saint thus operated within a much wider context of veneration, and needs to be set within a panoply of other means of glorification and supplication, both public and private.
A Companion to Middle English Hagiography by Sarah Salih