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Punishment and Penitential Practices in Medieval German Writing

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

Sarah Bowden (Editor), Annette Volfing (Editor)

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWoodbridge, Suffolk
PublisherBoydell & Brewer Ltd
ISBN (Print)9781897747346
Accepted/In press2017
Published17 May 2018

Publication series

NameKing's College London Medieval Studies
PublisherBoydell & Brewer Ltd
ISSN (Print)0953-217X

Bibliographical note

This book started life as a conference of the same name, which took place at King's College London in September 2014"--Page xi. Includes bibliographical references and index. Chapters in English or German with summaries in English.

King's Authors


The twin themes of punishment and penance considered through both historical and literary medieval German texts.
The supposed brutality of medieval punishment looms large in the popular contemporary imagination, yet this perception can obscure the diverse and nuanced reactions of medieval society to violent or criminal acts. This collectionaddresses the ways in which different approaches to punishment are depicted and discussed in written texts, focusing in particular on the often complex intersection - semantic, theoretical and theological - between punishment andpenitential practices, both self-imposed and imposed by others. Often in dialogue with theoretical approaches (for example, those of René Girard or Michel Foucault), individual essays explore a range of themes: the intersection ofthe literary representation of acts of punishment and penance with historical experience; the ways in which acts of punishment and penance engage the wishes and desires of those inflecting or witnessing them; legal and theological implications; the symbolic and communicative capital of the body. They focus on a range of texts (romance, lyric, mystical writing, saints' lives) written in German, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century.

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