The Medieval World of Nature: A Book of Essays, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Medieval World of Nature

A Book of Essays, 1st Edition

Edited by Joyce E. Salisbury


280 pages

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Hardback: 9780367187910
pub: 2019-07-09
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Originally published in 1993, The Medieval World of Nature looks at how the natural world was viewed by medieval society. The book presents the argument that the pragmatic medieval view of the natural world of animals and plants, existed simply to serve medieval society. It discusses the medieval concept of animals as food, labour, and sport and addresses how the biblical charge of assuming dominion over animals and plants, was rooted in the medieval sensibility of control. The book also looks at the idea of plants and animals as not only pragmatic, but as allegories within the medieval world, utilizing animals to draw morality tales, which were viewed with as much importance as scientific information. This book provides a unique and interesting look at the everyday medieval world.

Table of Contents



Part I: Animals

1. The Mirror of Nature Distorted: The Medieval Artist’s Dilemma in Depicting Animals, Nona C. Flores

2. Falconry and Medieval Views of Nature, Robin S. Oggins

3. The Protohistory of Pike in Western Culture, Richard C. Hoffmann

4. Animals Images in Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan: Structure and Meaning in Metaphor, Margaret Schleissner

Part II: Animals and People

5. Martyrs and Monks, Insects, and Animals, Maureen A. Tilley

6. The Shadow of Reason: Explanations of Intelligent Animal Behavior in the Thirteenth Century, Peter G. Sobol

7. The Goddess Natura in the Occitan Lyric, Veronica Fraser

8. Wild Folk and Lunatics in Medieval Romance, David A. Sprunger

Part III: People and the Land

9. The Land, Who Owns It?, John Hilary Martin, O.P.

10. Cultured Nature in Chaucer’s Early Dream-Poems, Laura L. Howes

11. Dante’s Utopian Landscape: The Garden of God, Brenda Deen Schildgen

12. Father God and Mother Earth: Nature Mysticism in the Anglo-Saxon World, Karen Jolly

Notes on Contributors


About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The Medieval World

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1938 and 1994, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medieval history and medieval literature, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines medieval history from the early Middle Ages, right up until the Reformation, as well as the effect of the medieval period on later cultures, such as the Victorians. This collection draws together books on the monarchy, medieval philosophy, religion, art, music, psychology and architecture as well as volumes on medieval archeology. The collection also brings together key volumes on medieval literature of the period, with formative works examining medieval religious literature, medieval legends and oral tradition. The collection also includes titles examining specific poems from the period such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Pearl, as well as volumes on influential writers of the period such as Jean Froissant, John Lydgate and Margery Kempe. This collection brings back into print a collection of insightful and detailed books on the diverse medieval period and will be a must have resource for academics and students, not only of history and literature, but of anthropology, music, psychology and religion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General