Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages

Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages Book Details

Medieval beliefs about the body were drastically different from ours today: Hair was thought to be a condensation of fumes emitted from the pores, ideas were supposedly committed to memory by being directly imprinted on the brain, and the womb of a goat was believed to function as a contraceptive. But while this medieval medicine now seems archaic, it also made a critical contribution to modern science.

Medieval Bodies guides us on a head-to-heel journey through this era’s revolutionary advancements and disturbing convictions. We learn about the surgeons who dissected a living man’s stomach, then sewed him up again; about the geographers who delineated racial groups by skin color; and about the practice of fasting to gain spiritual renown. Encompassing medicine and mysticism, politics and art—and complete with vivid, full-color illustrations—Medieval Bodies shows us how it felt to live and die a thousand years ago.

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Title:Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages
Edition Language:English
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    Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages Reviews

  • Beata

    I found this non-fiction informative and insightful as the Author spends time telling us how body parts were perceived during life, how they were cured and how they were treated after death. If you ar...

  • Richard Newton

    In the category of book as physical object this would gain 5 stars. Beautifully presented and well illustrated, this is a lovely object. The writing is to a high standard, erudite and mostly interesti...

  • Siria

    I was excited to read this, because it got rave reviews and the cover is so enticing—I thought perhaps it could become the core text for a course I'm thinking of teaching on the medieval body and me...

  • Maru Kun

    Subscription only review in LRB, but sounds a really interesting book:

  • Ilana

    4.5 — I gobbled this book up in no time. If you, like me are interested in history in general and the medieval period in particular, you may enjoy this book a lot. The book is organized as a tour of...

  • Stephen Goldenberg

    I’d just finished a novel set in the 1490s (Samantha Harvey’s The Western Wind) and this was a very suitable follow-on. The novel paints a pretty grim picture of life in an isolated Medieval Engli...

  • Grumpus

    The grumpus23 (23-word commentary)Interesting but disappointing. Perhaps better as a mini documentary series by body part. How people saw themselves with typical treatments of the time....

  • Sam Tornio

    If you want an introductory survey to the period that also manages to dive into the minutiae of things, this is your book....

  • Kenny Tymick

    This history is structured into chapters relating to different body parts, ie., the head, the heart, the feet, and Hartnell seeks to elucidate his audience on how humanity viewed our corporeal forms b...

  • Hannah

    this is such an interesting idea for a book - a meandering journey through cultural attitudes about different parts of the body for a more diverse and odd look at medieval culture than you might be ex...