A Companion to Middle English Hagiography by Sarah Salih

By Sarah Salih

The saints have been the superheroes and the stars of medieval England, bridging the space among heaven and earth, the dwelling and the useless. an unlimited physique of literature developed in the course of the center a while to make sure that every person, from kings to peasants, knew the tales of the lives, deaths and afterlives of the saints. despite the fact that, regardless of its acceptance and ubiquity, the style of the Saint's lifestyles has until eventually lately been little studied. This assortment introduces the canon of center English hagiography; locations it within the context of the cults of saints; analyses key topics inside hagiographic narrative, together with gender, energy, violence and historical past; and, ultimately, exhibits how hagiographic issues 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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It was deeply enmeshed in the political life of the city, and sometimes seems to have acted as a branch of the city council itself. The Guild worshipped in the cathedral, where there was an altar or small chapel dedicated to St George, on the south side at 7 8 On the Norwich Guild of St George see: Riches, St George, pp. 128–35, also Records of the Gild of St George in Norwich, 1389–1547, ed. Mary Grace, Norfolk Record Society 9 (Norwich, 1937). On the Coventry sculpture see: Samantha Riches, ‘St George and the Dragon’, Gothic: Art for England 1400–1547, ed.

St Margaret is associated with both sheep and a dragon, but the iconography of this panel is too unusual to allow a firm identification to be made. The Cotehele court cupboard is the subject of ongoing research by Nicholas Riall in association with Karen Watts and the current author (publication forthcoming). 14 Records of the Gild of St George, p. 34. HAGIOGRAPHY IN CONTEXT 33 snap its mouth open and closed, doubtless to the terrified delight of onlookers. 16 Throughout the procession the bells of the cathedral were rung, and the thought of the bells combining with the waits’ music, the cantors’ singing, the colourful robes, as well as the fighting between the George and his dragon, evokes a wonderfully dramatic event.

36 SAMANTHA RICHES toponym reflecting interest in a saint’s cult (see Appendix): formerly known as Bedericesworth, or Beodricsworth, the town’s current name means literally ‘St Edmund’s borough’, and reflects the translation of his relics there in 903. 28 He was an enormously popular saint, particularly significant in England because he was identified as an English king; yet his royal status was not his only important role. Like George and many other medieval saints he was perceived as a martyr, a holy figure who had physically suffered for his faith, and like all saints he was considered to have the potential to be an active agent in the lives of people who venerated him.

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