Session 507: Jewish and Christian Violence in Medieval English Society
Tuesday 10 July 2007, 09.00-10.30
|Moderator/Chair:||Carlee Ann Bradbury, School of Art & Design, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign|
|Paper 507-a||Society Gets the Monsters It Deserves: The Form and Function of the Supernatural Threat in Medieval English Literature|
Index terms: Folk Studies, Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities
|Paper 507-b||Madness, Conversion, Suicide, and Religious Identity among Jews in Late 12th-Century England|
Index terms: Daily Life, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Religious Life, Social History
Paper a: Medieval monsters embody the fears of the societies that create them. Confrontations between monsters and heroes in medieval literature allow authors to explain and explore the dangers – both ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic’ – that they consider a threat to their communities, and the ideals they believe will sustain them. This paper examines the ways in which the monster’s role shapes its characteristics. Through a comparison of figures such as Grendel, the Green Knight, and the devils of Saints’ Lives, it illustrates how these characteristics are moulded to reflect the particular concerns of different perspectives and periods in the life of the community.