Chapter

Impolitic Bodies III

Sheila Delany

in Impolitic Bodies

Published in print November 1998 | ISBN: 9780195109887
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855216 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195109887.003.0006
Impolitic Bodies III

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The chapter discusses the lives of the last three saints in Bokenham's Legendary—St. Lucy, St. Agatha, and St. Elizabeth. In this grouping, symbolisms of the breast, genital, and gut as they relate to the lives of the martyrs in focus are discussed in detail. In these narratives, Bokenham uses grotesque imagery to sever base fetishes from the body and replaces them with a functional, cleansing connection to a Christian imperative. Aside from achieving immortality in spirit and in writing, the chapter also acknowledges the generative quality of sainthood in that it is also believed capable of imbuing its devotees with the same spiritual grace. That the subjects of the narrative are women also allude to this “creative” force. In the concluding sections, the chapter cites various symbolisms and influences in Bokenham's work that exhibit his Augustinian beliefs and roots.

Keywords: Bokenham; St. Lucy; St. Agatha; St. Elizabeth; breast; genital; gut. Christian; Augustinian

Chapter.  9809 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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