By Larissa Tracy, Jeff Massey
Contributors: Tina Boyer, Thea Cervone, Dwayne C. Coleman, Christine F. Cooper-Rompato, Mark Faulkner, Andrew Fleck, Jay Paul Gates, Thomas Herron, Mary E. Leech, Nicola Masciandaro, Jeff Massey, Asa Simon Mittman, Larissa Tracy, and Renée Ward
Preface by: Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
The ultimate minimize, the deadly blow: Beheading is without doubt one of the such a lot pervasive modes of execution in human heritage. From the long-lasting photos of Judith sawing off the top of the tyrant Holofernes, to the lively head of the golf green Knight in Sir Gawain and the fairway Knight, to the English block and the French Guillotine, to trendy pictures of captured squaddies beheaded on digicam via terrorists, decapitation crosses all obstacles of time, tradition and style and offers a unbelievable and performative confirmation of energy and authority. yet beheading additionally serves a number of reasons within the corpus of medieval literature. it's a potential in which to make sure demise and immobilize a recalcitrant corpse; it really is magical and prophetic; it's a marker of sanctity and theological propaganda; it's a testomony to brutality and the truth of martial violence. simply because the head is given specified value in lots of medieval cultures, the act of beheading takes on specified value within the medieval texts collated during this collection.
The essays are prepared in chronological order from biblical examples to the earliest Anglo-Saxon hagiographic texts in the course of the secular early smooth iconography of Anne Boleyn, and have the evolution of the "talking head", starting with silent heads and relocating to locquacious examples. The dazzling motifs fall down to magical episodes in medieval secular romances, and tackle a paranormal and allegorical size in early sleek literature, drama, and pop culture. the ultimate essay recontextualizes the evolution of decapitation when it comes to the early Anglo-Saxon examples and smooth reception.
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