Sanctity and pornography in medieval culture

On the verge

By Bill Burgwinkle and Cary Howie

Sanctity and pornography in medieval culture

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8029-6
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £60.00
  • Published Date: October 2010
  • BIC Category: Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Literature, Literary studies: ancient & classical, Literature: history & criticism, Medieval Literature
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture


Sanctity and pornography in medieval culture exposes the complexity of bodily exposure in medieval devotion and contemporary pornographic cultures. Through readings of texts and images, sacred and profane, from preimodern France and Italy as well as Anglo-American modernity, the book makes a case for paying closer attention to the surfaces of our bodies and the desires that those surfaces can articulate and arouse.

From the Old French life of Saint Alexis to the work of writer-filmmaker Miranda July, from Wakefield Poole to Pietro Aretino, these are texts and images that diminish the distance between premodern Europe and contemporary California, between the sacred and the profane, as they demonstrate how, in the end as in the beginning, the surface of things is never simple.


Bill Burgwinkle is Reader in French and Occitan Literature at the University of Cambridge.. Cary Howie is Assistant Professor of Romance Studies at Cornell University.


Title Page
Dedication Page
List of plates and copyrights
1: 'Pornography and Parataxis'
2: 'Sanctity in word and image'
3: 'Bodies open and violated'
4: 'Touched Up: Saints, Sex and Surfaces'
5: 'The mundane and the mystical / sex and exchange,'
6: 'On the verge'
Conclusion: 'Caress me'

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