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Suspended Animation: Pain, Pleasure and Punishment in Medieval Culture (Hardback)

Robert Mills

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ISBN 10: 1861892608 / ISBN 13: 9781861892607
Editorial: Reaktion Books, United Kingdom, 2006
Nuevos Condición: New Encuadernación de tapa dura
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Descripción

Language: English . Brand New Book. Hanging, flaying, beating, anti-Semitic violence and the torture of sodomites: the darker side of life in medieval Europe has fuelled the imagery of many books and films: we know exactly what is meant in the film Pulp Fiction, when one character declares ?I?m gonna get medieval on yo? ass? But the stereotype of uncontrolled violence inflicted in the distant past is not only historically misleading, it also tricks us into believing that there is an unbridgeable gulf between modernity and the Middle Ages. In Suspended Animation, Robert Mills tackles this misconception head on, confronting these uncomfortable medieval practices on their own ground. He exposes the reader to a host of challenging, sometimes shocking texts and images ? from the graphic punishments of Hell in Tuscan frescoes to the ?debreasting? inflicted on St Barbara ? and shows how these relate in disturbing ways to the elements of pleasure and pain in modern sexuality and even pornography. His wide-ranging work takes in a great variety of material, from fifteenth-century French poetry to the Billie Holiday song Strange Fruit, and through these sometimes startling juxtapositions he reveals that the ties between the modern and the medieval age are both closer and stranger than we might imagine. Suspended Animation also makes a fresh contribution to theoretical debates on pre-modern gender and sexuality. Drawing on a rich mix of thought from Lacan and Foucault as well as contemporary theorists, he proposes a new concept for understanding the medieval imagination ? the aesthetics of suspense. N° de ref. de la librería AA99781861892607

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: Suspended Animation: Pain, Pleasure and ...

Editorial: Reaktion Books, United Kingdom

Año de publicación: 2006

Encuadernación: Hardback

Condición del libro:New

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Sinopsis:

When Marsellus in the film PulpFiction asserts, "I'm gonna git medieval on your ass," we know that he is about to bring down a fierce and exacting punishment. Yet is the violence of the Middle Ages that far removed from our modern society? Suspended Animation argues that not only is the stereotype of uncontrolled violence in the Middle Ages historically misleading, the gulf between modern society and the medieval era is not as immense as we might think. In fact, both medievals and moderns live within a social tension of "suspended animation" engendered by images and acts of violence.

Just as in medieval times, Robert Mills argues, it is the threat of violence—not the reality—that continues to structure our lives. To illustrate this "aesthetics of suspense," Mills draws on extensive and disturbing examples from medieval iconography, contemporary philosophy, and even pornography, ranging from the vivid depictions of Hell in Tuscan frescoes to Billie Holiday's famously wrenching song "Strange Fruit". Mills reveals how these uncomfortable images and texts expose a modern self-deception, and he further explores how medieval images evoked a pleasure revealingly close to that found in modern depictions of sexuality. Suspended Animation also makes a fresh contribution to theoretical debates on pre-modern gender and sexuality. Mills's comprehensive analysis demonstrates that—as wartime prisoner abuse incidents at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay have recently indicated—our notions of ourselves as not-medieval (that is, civilized) not only fail to prepare us for modern torture and warfare but also lead us into complicity with self-proclaimed moral and civic leaders.
 
Whether considering a medieval painting of a Christian martyr or the immense popularity of grotesque historical tourist attractions such as the London Dungeons, Suspended Animation argues that images of death and violence are as pervasive today as they were in the Middle Ages, serving as potent reminders of the link between the modern and the medieval era.

About the Author:

Robert Mills is  lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at King's College, London, and coeditor of The Monstrous Middle Ages and Troubled Vision: Gender, Sexuality and Sight in Medieval Text and Image.

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