Woolgar, C. M.
The Senses in Late Medieval England,
New Haven, USA, Yale University Press, 384pp.
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Crucial to an understanding of life in the past is an appreciation of how individuals perceived their world. This book captures the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the late medieval period to recreate and explain the kinds of lives lived then. Based on a wide range of sources, from saints' lives, collections of miracles, and literary works to domestic financial records and the remains of buildings, the book reveals a physical experience unlike our own. And it was a world that thought differently, one in which the luster of a color might be more important than its hue, and where moral qualities might attach to sound.
As well as examining individual senses, the book considers how sensation functioned in practice—in the households of bishops of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, of the queens of late medieval England, and of the aristocracy at the end of the Middle Ages. Woolgar's deft and scrupulous text recovers an elusive and fascinating world.
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