Movie Review: Dangerous Beauty

Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) kisses her lover, Marco Vernier (Rufus Sewell) in, "Dangerous Beauty".

Late 16th century Venice, where a woman can be a nun, a wife or a courtesan. For Veronica Franco, the free spirited girl scorned by because of her lack of wealth, the choice is an obvious one…

Poems by a Viking

Poems by a Viking

What was a poem by a Viking like? In his new book, Crimsoning the Eagle’s Claw, Ian Crockatt has translated dozens of poems of one of the most famous poets from the Norse world.

Roses are Red, Violets are Beowulf

Beowulf poetry

Let’s take five minutes to look at medieval alliterative poetry, using some of the most famous poems of the period.

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

Intersex in the Middle Ages

Statue of Hermaphrodite - Louvre

A brief look at how the medieval world viewed the Intersex individual.

The Morality of Misogyny: The Case of Rustico Filippi, Vituperator of Women

Gherardo di Giovanni del Fora (Florentine, 1444/45-1497), Chaste Women in a Landscape, Probably 1480s,

At the outset of his influential study on Rabelais, Mikhail Bakhtin makes an interesting observation. The scholar dedicates several pages to detail how the French author’s critical reception changed over time. Bakhtin illustrates how the attempt to comprehend an author can frequently be stymied by the cultural changes that occur across the centuries.

‘Falseness Reigns in Every Flock’: Literacy and Eschatological Discourse in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Peasant's Revolt 1381

The literature of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, a miscellany of fourteenth-century poetry and prose penned before, during, and after the insurrection, often stresses the importance of literacy to the nonaristocratic population of England.

Hearing, smelling, savoring, and touching in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval meal

Chaucer’s scholar’s have long recognized the poet’s keen sense of observation and have commented upon the poet’s ability to transfer his visual images to his writing.

Late Medieval Knight Reflecting on his Public Life: Hugo de Urriés (c. 1405-c. 1493), Diplomacy and Translating the Classics

Sepulchre of Hugo de Urriés (1420-1443) - at Huesca Cathedral. By Gothic sculptor, Pere Johan

This article focuses on Aragonese courtier Hugo de Urriés’s public profile by means of analyzing the critical points derived from examining his personal, political, cultural and historical stands making use of an invaluable primary source, his letter to Fernando the Catholic in the early 1490s.

The influence of conflicting medieval church and social discourses on individual consciousness : dissociation in the visions of Hadewijch of Brabant

Beguine - Des dodes dantz, printed in Lübeck in 1489.

This article examines the influence of the conflicting dis- courses in the medieval church and its social context on the subconscious experiences of Hadewijch of Brabant, a 13th century Flemish visionary, mystical author, vernacular theologian and Beguine leader

10 Things to See at Southwark Cathedral

High Altar Screen - Southwark cathedral , 1520 AD.

My 10 favourite things about Southwark Cathedral.

Religious Education as the Basis of Medieval Literature

The figure of Grammatica, the first stage of medieval education, threatens an inattentive student with her birch - south portal, Chartres cathedral, c.1150. Photo courtesy University of Leicester

The medieval literature was written with a purpose to teach Christian dogmas to the masses. The prose and poetry of the time meant to show men the ugliness of sin and the beauty of goodness.

Guilt and Creativity in the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer


I argue that as Chaucer develops his own expansive, questioning poetics in The House of Fame and The Canterbury Tales, he problematises the principle of allegory on which the legitimacy of literary discourse was primarily based in medieval culture and the final fragments of The Canterbury Tales see Chaucer struggling, increasingly, to reconcile the boldness and independence of his poetic vision with the demands of his faith.

Reflection of the Wars of the Roses in Thomas Malory`s Le Morte D`Arthur: Literary-cultural analysis

Edward Burne-Jones - The Last Sleep of Arthur

The aim of this research paper is to analyse the Morte D’Arthur and find certain historical moments incorporated in the book. Firstly, as the goal of work follows a hypothesis that Thomas Malory reflected manifold incidents from the Wars of the Roses in the Morte D’Arthur, it was inevitable to understand author’s position in this civil war, which meant investigating in the authorship.

Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

Caught in Love’s Grip: Passion and Moral Agency in French Courtly Romance

The art of courtly love

French royal courts in the late twelfth century were absolutely smitten with love. Troubadaours traveled from place to place reciting stories of knights and the ladies they wooed.

A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Tolkien

The famous line from that modern romance- “A kiss is just a kiss”- is the message the Gawain-poet gave his listeners six centuries ago.

Making Sacrifices: Beowulf and Film

The Thirteenth Warrior

This essay reviews opening scenes in some recent film Beowulfs, which, although they have nothing at all to say about Scyld Scefing, suggest a sacrificial reading of the prologue and perhaps even the whole poem.

What’s the Matter?: Medieval Literary Theory and the Irish Campaigns in The Bruce

Wars of Scottish Independence - 1332, Neville’s Cross

John Barbour’s Bruce, composed in the mid 1370s, is the first long poem in the Scots vernacular. It contains twenty books, the first thirteen of which trace the Wars of Liberty from their origins until triumph at the Battle of Bannockburn. At this point the Irish ‘matter’ enters the poem.

Quid Tacitus . . . ? The Germania and the Study of Anglo-Saxon England


This paper considers the vexed historiography of Tacitus’s Germania and its reception history, first among German and other European historians and then among Anglo-Saxonists.

Primstav and Apocalypse Time and its Reckoning in Medieval Scandinavia

Primstav - Runic Calendar - Museum of History in Lund, Sweden.

This work is intended as an exploration of methods of time-reckoning and conception in Medieval Scandinavia. In the main this is tied to the dynamism between a duality: that of the cyclical and linear models of time‟s progression. Involved in this study are sources verbal and pictoral.

Medieval Friends: Chansons De Geste Ltd. –

Chansons de Geste

This week on Medieval Friends, we’re featuring Thomas Motter’s website, Thomas is fluent in French, and has lived in Paris and Munich. He’s done extensive research on medieval French history with an emphasis on the Chansons de Gestes.

The Anglo-Saxon Name for the s-Rune: Sigel, a Precious Jewel

Vestergotland Oldest Runestone - futhark

The Anglo-Saxon rune-name sigel has been interpreted as meaning ‘sun’. In some contexts Old English sigel does refer to the sun, in others it means ‘clasp’, ‘brooch’, or ‘jewel’. All these meanings, however, are difficult to reconcile with the maritime imagery of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem’s sigel stanza.

Men Who Talk about Love in Late Medieval Spain: Hugo de Urriés and Egalitarian Married Life

Clandestine marriage. Decretales  of Gregory IX

In the last third of the fifteenth century, Hugo de Urriés’s work can offer the modern reader a very rare and informative perspective from the points of view of social history and history of ideas.

Judith’s Necessary Androgyny: Representations of Gender in the Old English Judith

Judith - Anglo-Saxon

The Old English poem Judith explores Anglo-Saxon representations of femininity and masculinity by constructing a double-gendered hero who differs from the biblical version of the same woman.

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