Examines the complex and contentious role of the obscene - what is offensive, indecent or morally repugnant - in medieval culture from late antiquity through to the end of the Middle Ages in western Europe. Its approach is multidisciplinary, its methodologies divergent and it seeks to formulate questions and stimulate debate. The essays examine topics as diverse as Norse defecation taboos, the Anglo-Saxon sexual idiom, sheela-na-gigs, impotence in the church courts, bare ecclesiastical bottoms, rude sounds and dirty words, as well as the modern reception and representation of the medieval obscene.
They demonstrate not only the vitality of medieval obscenity, but its centrality to our understanding of the Middle Ages and ourselves.
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