IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 1207: Space, Performance, and Life-Cycle: Places of Transformation in Text and Culture

Wednesday 15 July 2009, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Hilton Shepherd Postgraduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Birmingham
Organiser:Alison J. Spedding, Hilton Shepherd Postgraduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Birmingham
Moderator/Chair:Miriam Müller, Department of Medieval History, University of Birmingham
Paper 1207-aLocating the Performance and Practicalities of Early Medieval Manumissions
(Language: English)
Duncan Probert, Hilton Shepherd Postgraduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Law, Social History
Paper 1207-bDeclaring the Will: Place and Performative in Testamentary Practices
(Language: English)
Alison J. Spedding, Hilton Shepherd Postgraduate Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Birmingham
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Middle English, Law, Social History
Abstract

Life-stage events – times of personal transformation – are often associated with public and private places of spiritual significance and ceremonial linguistic formulae, whether spoken or written. The birthing room was a transitional space for mother and child, a temporary – even sacred – space beset by ritual. Manumission marked a transformation in status, a freedom from ties to lord and place, often enacted in sacred or liminal spaces and expressed in ritualised language. The greatest transition, from life to death, was marked by the testament, its dispositions initially enacted in public but also associated with the private transition from the deathbed to the infinity of heaven and the confines of the grave.