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Medieval Practices of Space

Barbara A. Hanawalt
Michal Kobialka
Volume: 23
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Medieval Practices of Space
    Book Description:

    The contributors to this volume cross disciplinary and theoretical boundaries to read the words, metaphors, images, signs, poetic illusions, and identities with which medieval men and women used space and place to add meaning to the world. Contributors: Kathleen Biddick, Charles Burroughs, Michael Camille, Tom Conley, Donnalee Dox, Jody Enders, Valerie K. J. Flint, Andrzej Piotrowski, and Daniel Lord Smail.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9140-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    Barbara A. Hanawalt and Michal Kobialka

    Ever since the word “space” lost its strictly geometrical meaning, it has acquired and been accompanied by numerous adjectives or nouns that defined its “new” use and attributes. Mental space, ideological space, literary space, the space of the imagination, the space of the dreams, Utopian space, imaginary space, technological space, cultural space, and social space are some of the terms that have emerged alongside the Euclidean, isotropic, or absolute space. With the publication of Henri Lefebvre’sLa Production de I’espacein 1974 (the English version,The Production of Space,was published in 1991), the possibility that space can be produced...

    (pp. 1-36)
    Michael Camille

    One of the oldest streets in Paris on the Left Bank is the rue Galande, between rue St. Julien le Pauvre to the east and the corner of the Place Maubert to the west. Approaching this comer on the north side of the street, one comes upon number 42 rue Galande, one of those ubiquitous little cinemas that make the French capital such a haven for lovers of the moving image. Most cineasts entering the building and most passersby do not notice the little static image placed high above on its graffiti-covered facade (figure I. I). A stone relief carving...

  6. 2 The Linguistic Cartography of Property and Power in Late Medieval Marseille
    (pp. 37-63)
    Daniel Lord Smail

    Angevin Marseille, like any medieval European jurisdiction, generated enormous quantities of legal contracts and other records involving property and property conveyances from the thirteenth century onward. Medieval property sites were rarely mapped by means of graphic representations, and Marseille’s records are no exception to this general rule; in thousands of pages of documentation from late medieval Marseille, one will never find an image even remotely like a map.¹ All the same, these records betray the shaping presence of sophisticated linguistic maps, for verbal descriptions of property sites can signify real property only if a cartographic science, whatever its technological form,...

  7. 3 Spaces of Arbitration and the Organization of Space in Late Medieval Italian Cities
    (pp. 64-100)
    Charles Burroughs

    The law shaped late medieval social space. Any discussion of medieval practices of space, therefore, must attend to the legal framework of such practices, especially those involving the physical or even conceptual redefinition of the setting of action. In medieval Italy, city statutes typically included detailed provisions regarding the maintenance and, to a degree, improvement of public space. Often these came under the purview of a magistracy, with its own statutes and institutional memory, expressly concerned with the physical condition of a city. Nevertheless, for all the appeals to abstract values, city statutes and related legal provisions were in general...

  8. 4 Architecture and the Iconoclastic Controversy
    (pp. 101-127)
    Andrzej Piotrowski

    If one takes into account the number of publications on the topic, it is possible to suggest that architectural historians usually consider the Gothic style the highest achievement of European architecture in the Middle Ages. Byzantium, although politically powerful and culturally rich, is seen as a secondary influence in the development of European architectural styles. To put it another way, the Great Schism of 1054 is implicitly built into the taxonomies of the history of architecture. This understanding of the architecture of the Middle Ages, I would argue, exists largely because Gothic or Romanesque styles seem to have been “better...

  9. 5 Staging Place/Space in the Eleventh-Century Monastic Practices
    (pp. 128-148)
    Michal Kobialka

    The notions of place and space are associated in our minds with concepts defined by geometry and axonometry. Above and beyond their scientific attributes, however, they also express a mode of thinking that uses these two notions to describe the process of representing what is thinkable and doable under a specific set of dispositions and conditions. As Michel de Certeau noted inThe Practice of Everyday Life:

    A place (lieu) is the order (of whatever kind) in accord with which elements are distributed in relationships of coexistence. It thus excludes the possibility of two things being in the same location...

  10. 6 Space and Discipline in Early Medieval Europe
    (pp. 149-166)
    Valerie I. J. Flint

    For the organized use of space in early medieval Europe, one movement would be very hard to equal: the monastic movement within the Western Christian Church. From the permanent enclosure of the monastery itself to the number of distinct place-names included within it (welcoming place, guest house, novice house, oratory, dorter, refectory, vestimentary, scriptorium, calefactory, cellarium, kitchen, bakery, infirmarium, garden, and so on), the Benedictine Rule and its customaries seem obsessed with spaces.¹ The monk would be expected to attend to where he was from the first moment of his entry into the community; the place names would tell him...

  11. 7 Theatrical Space, Mutable Space, and the Space of Imagination: Three Readings of the Croxton Play of the Sacrament
    (pp. 167-198)
    Donnalee Dox

    Space is an a priori criterion for theater. Theater integrates bodies, objects, and space to represent an alternate reality in performance. Because concepts of space differ across cultures and history, the relationship between bodies, objects, and space cannot be assumed to be consistent. Thus, plays of the past demand inquiry into the concepts of space that governed their performance as well as the concepts of space that govern their interpretation today. The inquiry into medieval theatrical space thus merges two fundamental questions: What concepts of space operated in the historical moment in which the play was performed? What assumptions about...

  12. 8 Dramatic Memories and Tortured Spaces in the Mistere de la Saints Hostie
    (pp. 199-222)
    Jody Enders

    Once upon a time, something happened in thirteenth-century Paris that was so startling and so violent that a Carmelite church was built to honor the site where it had taken place and a play was written to chronicle both the miracle and the formation of a theater guild (confrairie) to reenact it. At least so goes the legend of the Jew and the tortured, bleeding, resurrected Host in which a private, Jewish, domestic space is transformed through violence into a public space of conversion and devotion.¹ The play is the little-studied fifteenth-centuryMisters de la Sainte Hostie;and its compelling...

  13. 9 Becoming Collection: The Spatial Afterlife of Medieval Universal Histories
    (pp. 223-241)
    Kathleen Biddick

    On December 29, 1491, the wealthy Nuremberg merchant Sebald Schreyer and his brother-in-law Sebastian Kammermeister signed a contract with the “painters” Michel Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff for the production of theNuremberg Chronicle,a printed universal history conceived to outcompete in sheer size and number of illustrations (1,809 illustrations printed from 654 blocks) a number of other popular printed histories already on the European market. Secrecy was to shroud the printing process. The Nuremberg printer, Anton Koberger, whose printing house was then one of the largest in Europe, was required by contract (March 1492) to “reserve and make available ....

  14. 10 Poetic Mapping: On Villon’s “Contredictz de Franc Gontier”
    (pp. 242-260)
    Tom Conley

    In a chapter entitled “Textual Space,” located near the conclusion ofLa Mesure du monde,the late Paul Zumthor paints a comprehensive picture of medieval extension. He remarks that literary space in the Middle Ages can be studied from three concurrent points of view. The first looks at both the page and its written inscriptions and the shape of the book or manuscript in which they are located. The second considers the spaces described in and through the writing. These are the “literary representations of physical space,” in other words, the imaginary areas a reader obtains through the referential material....

  15. Contributors
    (pp. 261-264)
  16. Index
    (pp. 265-269)