Imagine a dreamland where roasted pigs wander about with knives
in their backs to make carving easy, where grilled geese fly
directly into one's mouth, where cooked fish jump out of the water
and land at one's feet. The weather is always mild, the wine flows
freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal
Such is Cockaigne. Portrayed in legend, oral history, and art,
this imaginary land became the most pervasive collective dream of
medieval times-an earthly paradise that served to counter the
suffering and frustration of daily existence and to allay anxieties
about an increasingly elusive heavenly paradise.
Illustrated with extraordinary artwork from the Middle Ages,
Herman Pleij's Dreaming of Cockaigne is a spirited account
of this lost paradise and the world that brought it to life. Pleij
takes three important texts as his starting points for an inspired
of the panorama of ideas, dreams, popular religion, and literary
and artistic creation present in the late Middle Ages. What emerges
is a well-defined picture of the era, furnished with a wealth of
detail from all of Europe, as well as Asia and America.
Pleij draws upon his thorough knowledge of medieval European
literature, art, history, and folklore to describe the fantasies
that fed the tales of Cockaigne and their connections to the
central obsessions of medieval life.
Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Sociology
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