Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages

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9780801444661: Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages

"The enigmatic link between the natural and artistic beauty that is to be contemplated but not eaten, on the one hand, and the eucharistic beauty that is both seen (with the eyes of faith) and eaten, on the other, intrigues me and inspires this book. One cannot ask theo-aesthetic questions about the Eucharist without engaging fundamental questions about the relationship between beauty, art (broadly defined), and eating."―from Eating Beauty

In a remarkable book that is at once learned, startlingly original, and highly personal, Ann W. Astell explores the ambiguity of the phrase "eating beauty." The phrase evokes the destruction of beauty, the devouring mouth of the grave, the mouth of hell. To eat beauty is to destroy it. Yet in the case of the Eucharist the person of faith who eats the Host is transformed into beauty itself, literally incorporated into Christ. In this sense, Astell explains, the Eucharist was "productive of an entire 'way' of life, a virtuous life-form, an artwork, with Christ himself as the principal artist." The Eucharist established for the people of the Middle Ages distinctive schools of sanctity―Cistercian, Franciscan, Dominican, and Ignatian―whose members were united by the eucharistic sacrament that they received.

Reading the lives of the saints not primarily as historical documents but as iconic expressions of original artworks fashioned by the eucharistic Christ, Astell puts the "faceless" Host in a dynamic relationship with these icons. With the advent of each new spirituality, the Christian idea of beauty expanded to include, first, the marred beauty of the saint and, finally, that of the church torn by division―an anti-aesthetic beauty embracing process, suffering, deformity, and disappearance, as well as the radiant lightness of the resurrected body. This astonishing work of intellectual and religious history is illustrated with telling artistic examples ranging from medieval manuscript illuminations to sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Salvador Dalí. Astell puts the lives of medieval saints in conversation with modern philosophers as disparate as Simone Weil and G. W. F. Hegel.

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From the Back Cover:

"In Eating Beauty Ann W. Astell gives us a profoundly original and provocative work of theological aesthetics. Starting from her premise of the eucharistic Host as the reverse of Eden's apple, she teaches us to read Cistercian humility, Franciscan poverty, Dominican preaching, and Jesuit obedience as convergent spiritual arts that aim, through the deformity of Christ Crucified, to restore the lost loveliness of God's image. Venturing far beyond her medieval points of departure, Astell illumines artists from Michelangelo to Dalí and engages deeply with modern and postmodern thought. This wide-ranging study will challenge and delight everyone who cares about the intersections of philosophy, aesthetics, and spirituality."-Barbara Newman, Northwestern University

"This magisterial theo-aesthetic study forges new territory as it historicizes varying medieval interpretations of the eucharistic sacrament in medieval Christianity. Ann W. Astell's nuanced Eating Beauty demonstrates in every dimension how the Eucharist yokes the human to the divine in a via pulchritudinis."-Bonnie Wheeler, Southern Methodist University

"Ann W. Astell has written a book of elegance, scholarly depth, wisdom . . . and beauty. This book has an effect on the reader that encourages a kind of meditative reflection that is not unlike that eucharistic gaze of adoration, which is her subject. Through her fresh retrieval of eucharistic spiritual and devotional practices, we see these practices as they were originally intended: as embodied, sensual, creative, intuitive, and contemplative paths that lead directly into the heart of what Astell calls 'original beauty.' I found myself beguiled by this book, drawn into that rare and mysterious reading pleasure of disappearing: as I sat 'eating words' while reading, I was simultaneously devoured by Astell's own words reading me. This is a book in which one disappears only to find that while 'gone,' beauty, in its myriad forms, has arrived to greet you."-Steven Chase, Western Theological Seminary "Eating Beauty is an interdisciplinary tour de force that lays bare the intimate connection between beauty (aesthetics) and belief (in God's historical and embodied presence in the world). In her detailed analysis of late-medieval saints-a theological aesthetics of first-rate quality-Ann W. Astell argues convincingly that God's creative activity continues in the sumptuous feast that is the Eucharist. All of humanity is invited to this feast. Further to this Eating Beauty demonstrates that God eats with us at a common table in the world-the table of divine and human life in the here and now. Astell's theo-aesthetic exposition clearly shows that what the Eucharist promises (God), and what it actually gives (bread), is one and the same thing. The end result is the formation of saints in everyday life-the dominant goal of 'eating beauty' in its many forms."-David B. Perrin, Professor of Spirituality, Saint Paul University

"I have enjoyed reading Ann W. Astell's work over the years. I know of no other writer who combines literary theory, the history of spirituality, questions of religious practice, and a deep knowledge of medieval Latin and vernacular literature in such a passionate, learned way. Eating Beauty seems to be her masterpiece, the book toward which she has been writing for years. Astell's command of primary sources from the early Middle Ages through the modern period is impressive, as is her ability to find unexpected intersections among the works of a diverse range of scholars and philosophers."-Stephanie Paulsell, Houghton Professor of the Practice of Ministry Studies, Harvard Divinity School

"A feast for mind and memory, for body and soul, for heart and spirit: Eating Beauty is not precisely history, aesthetics, or art, nor precisely spirituality or theology, but, for its serendipitously delighted readers, a transforming experience that both draws upon and transcends all of these disciplines and makes them once again sources of joyful wonder. This book will instruct, enlighten, and inspire, and, gently and powerfully, invite the reader into the kind of contemplation that, on the one hand, Aristotle described as excitingly intellectual, and, on the other hand, the Christian mystics experienced as affectively prayerful."-Robert J. Daly, S.J., Professor Emeritus of Theology at Boston College, former editor of Theological Studies

About the Author:

Ann W. Astell is Professor of English at Purdue University. She is the author of many books, including Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages, The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages, Chaucer and the Universe of Learning, and Political Allegory in Late Medieval England, all available from Cornell.

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ASTELL, A. W.
Editorial: CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, ITHACA, NY (2006)
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
Nuevos Cantidad: 1
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Pórtico [Portico]
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Descripción CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, ITHACA, NY, 2006. Encuadernacion original. Estado de conservación: NUEVO / NEW. ASTELL, A. W. EATING BEAUTY. THE EUCHARIST AND THE SPIRITUAL ARTS OF THE MIDDLE AGES. ITHACA, NY, 2006, xv 304 p. color laminas Encuadernacion original. Nuevo. Nº de ref. de la librería 406956

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Ann W. Astell
Editorial: Syracus University Press
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
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Descripción Syracus University Press. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 0801444667

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ANN W. ASTELL
Editorial: Cornell University Press August 2006 (2006)
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Eighth Day Books, LLC
(Wichita, KS, Estados Unidos de America)
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Descripción Cornell University Press August 2006, 2006. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. The whole book is, simply, a scholarly contemplation of the phrase 'eating beauty' as it reveals the life and art of European history up to the modern age. Astell (echoing Simone Weil) proposes two kinds of eating beauty: 'one way of eating destroys the beauty of the world and the beloved; the other preserves and enhances it'-the antithesis between the Forbidden Fruit and Eucharist. In lust and greed, we see beauty and then consume it to our, and its, destruction. But Christ, who is Beauty Incarnate, gives Himself that we might consume Him and then be able to look to Him with 'unveiled face.' Bernard, Bonaventure, Ignatius-among many saints and mystics of the Middle Ages-understood this, and their ideal of piety was formed by attention to the Eucharistic meal as the heart of all spiritual activity. Astell is deeply read in ancient and medieval sources, as well as more contemporary thinkers such as Weil, Girard, and von Balthasar, yet her synthesis is an exciting and refreshingly original interdisciplinary work. 'What wonders could occur,' muses the author in her poetic introduction, 'if beauty could be eaten, beauty imbibed, beauty absorbed, without ever ceasing to be beauty! How beautiful we would be and become!' 296 pp. Nº de ref. de la librería 20090113152442

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Astell, Ann W.
Editorial: Cornell University Press (2006)
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
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Sequitur Books
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Descripción Cornell University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover and dust jacket. Good binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Nº de ref. de la librería 1610200028

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Astell, Ann W.
Editorial: Cornell University Press (2006)
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
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Descripción Cornell University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110801444667

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Ann W. Astell
Editorial: Cornell University Press (2006)
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
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Ergodebooks
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Descripción Cornell University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 1. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0801444667

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Ann W. Astell
ISBN 10: 0801444667 ISBN 13: 9780801444661
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Descripción Estado de conservación: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Nº de ref. de la librería 97808014446611.0

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