IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 1011: Losing Their Heads: Beheading Narratives, Gender, and Social Roles

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 09.00-10.30

Organiser:Amy Brown, University of Sydney
Moderator/Chair:Amy Brown, University of Sydney
Paper 1011-aA Hidden Beheading: Religious and Moral Divide in Ælfric of Eynsham's The Decollation of St John the Baptist
(Language: English)
Roberta Marangi, Département de langue et littérature anglaises, Université de Genève
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Old English, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 1011-bBeheadings and Queerness in Bestiary Viper Lore
(Language: English)
Tim Wingard, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Index terms: Gender Studies, Sexuality
Paper 1011-cTalking Heads: Monstrous and Hagiographic Decapitation in Old English Literature
(Language: English)
Aidan Holtan, Department of English, Purdue University
Index terms: Gender Studies, Hagiography, Language and Literature - Old English

‘The head of woman is man’: so what to do with a headless woman? What does it mean (other than death) to lose one’s head? What meanings can the severed head have? How do medieval narratives treat women who decapitate others, or bring about decapitations? How does the gender of the decapitator and the decapitatee affect the symbolic value placed on the body, the head, and the process of decapitation? What social norms are violated when a body is beheaded, and which are upheld? This session will examine beheading narratives from a range of genres and periods with these questions in mind.