International Medieval Research 18

Front cover, IMR 18 - Click to enlarge
Medieval Life Cycles: Continuity and Change
Edited by Isabelle Cochelin and Karen Smyth

The essays in this collection present new research into a variety of questions on birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and old age, ordered in a more or less chronological manner according to the life cycle. The volume exposes attitudes and representations of the life cycle from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the Middle Ages as being full of inconsistencies as well as definitive categories, and of variation and stasis. This attests to the fact that medieval conceptions and representations of the stages of life and their interrelationships are much more nuanced and less idealized than is usually credited. Medieval conceptual, mental, artistic, cultural, and sociological processes are scrutinized using various approaches and methods that cross disciplinary boundaries. What is emphasized across the volume is that there were varying, context-dependent rhythms of continuity and change in every stage of life in the medieval period. The volume's selection of authors in international in scope and represents some of the leading current scholarship in the field.

Papers in this volume include:

  • Introduction: Pre-Thirteenth-Century Definitions of the Life Cycle , by Isabelle Cochelin
  • Baptism and Infant Burial in Anglo-Saxon England , by Sally Crawford
  • Wanton Boys in Middle English Texts and the Christ Child in Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, MS Z822N81, by Mary Dzon
  • Adolescence Uncloistered (Cluny, Early Twelfth Century), by Isabelle Cochelin
  • Rebellious Youth and Pliant Children: Jewish Converts in Adolescentia, by Jessie Sherwood
  • Generational Discourse and Images of Urban Youth in Private Letters: The Nuremburg Tucher Family around 1550, by Christian Kuhn
  • Adulthood in Medieval Europe: The Prime of Life or Midlife Crisis?, by Deborah Youngs
  • The Middle-Ages Meanderings of Margery Kempe: Medieval Women and Pilgrimage, by Sue Niebrzydowski
  • 'Byð se ealda man ceald and snoflig': Stereotypes and Subversions of the Last Stages of the Life Cycle in Old English Texts and Anglo-Saxon Contexts, by Philippa Semper
  • Imagining Age in the Fifteenth Century: Nation, Everyman, and the Self, by Karen Smyth