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Analysis of the representation of the body in literature. It historicizes embodiment by charting our evolving understanding of the body from the Middle Ages to the present day, and addresses such questions as sensory perception, technology, language and affect; maternal bodies, disability and the representation of ageing; eating and obesity, pain, death and dying; and racialized and posthuman bodies.
The widespread view that 'mystical' activity in the Middle Ages was a rarefied enterprise of a privileged spiritual elite has led to isolation of the medieval 'mystics' into a separate, narrowly defined category. Taking the opposite view, this book shows how individual mystical experience, such as those recorded by Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, is rooted in, nourished and framed by the richly distinctive spiritual contexts of the period.
The final section considers the lives and writings of remarkable women, including Marie de France, Heloise, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and female lyricists and romancers whose names are lost, but whose texts survive.