IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 506: Touching the Body in the Middle Ages

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Jessica Legacy, School of Languages, Literature & Culture, University of Edinburgh
Moderator/Chair:Phoebe Catherine Linton, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Paper 506-aBlood Letting, Blood Forbidden: The Ambiguous Taboo of Blood in the Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Jessica Legacy, School of Languages, Literature & Culture, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Medicine, Mentalities, Science
Paper 506-bSpiritual Reform and Physical Renewal in Late Medieval Drama
(Language: English)
Helen Frances Smith, School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Medicine, Performance Arts - Drama
Paper 506-cTouching the Body in High Medieval Childbirth Miracles
(Language: English)
Fiona Harris-Stoertz, Department of History, Trent University, Ontario
Index terms: Lay Piety, Medicine, Social History, Women's Studies
Abstract

It is uncertain to what extent touching the body was taboo in the medieval period. Multiple sources show that lepers were often required to carry a bell or rattle to warn of their approach. Yet, many sought to renew or increase their piety through intimate contact with lepers. In medicine, a social rank divided the physicians and the surgeons who were demeaned by handling blood and flesh. Yet, surgeon Mondino de Luzzi reformed medical instruction by performing dissections before an audience. This session investigates the contradiction surrounding touch and the body through representations in medicine, literature, and theology.