When ego was imago : signs of identity in the Middle Ages /
by Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak.
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2011.
xxix, 295 p., [23] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
9004192174 (hbk. : acid-free paper), 9789004192171 (hbk. : acid-free paper)
More Details
Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2011.
9004192174 (hbk. : acid-free paper)
9789004192171 (hbk. : acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, Professor of History, New York University, has published extensively on medieval seals as conceptual tools, markers of identity, and social agents, including Form as Order in Medieval France (Aldershot, 1993), and "Medieval Identity" (American Historical Review, 2000).
Review Quotes
"...This important new book gives the lie to any such dichotomy between erudition and theoretical acumen. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak brings her unrivalled knowledge of specialists' fields- diplomatics and charters in general and, above all, sigillography, the study of seal dies and their imprints-to the questions of representation in identity formation in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Rigorously following transformations in sealing practices and the simultaneous spread of the metaphor of sealing takes the book into extremely wide terrain that includes the multiple relations among discourses of royal authority, eucharistic theology, and personal and corporate accountability...Non-medievalists tend not to read the work of medievalists. This is to be especially deplored in the case of this book, [as is its price], for it is a model of post-postmodern historiography, that is, a return to the empirical historical subject and object while cognizant of the mediate role of language. By examining a significant historical example of the mediate role of the sign, Bedos-Rezak shows us what cultural history after the linguistic turn can be."Robert M. Stein (Purchase College), Speculum 87.2 (April 2012)"...As a book, When Ego was Imago: Signs of Identity in the Middle Ages is complex and intense, and yet exudes a manifest enthusiasm that lends it a charismatic appeal. It does credit to the series to which it belongs, providing a truly original vision of medieval thought that will, I suspect, remain with me for many years to come."James Smith (The University of Western Australia), LIMINA, 15th July 2011"...What interests me about this book is how it opens up a gap or lacuna between indexicality and iconicity, a gap of importance for medievalists and contemporary students of semiosis. Michel Foucault pointed toward such gaps and their possibilities in his classical study, The Order of Things ..."Kathleen Biddick (Temple University), The Medieval Review 2011
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Main Description
Twelfth-century individuals negotiated personal relationships along a continuum connecting rather than polarizing immediacy and mediated representation. Their markers of individuation, signs of identity and media of communication thus evidence practical engagement with contemporary medieval sign theory and perceptions of reality. In this study, the relevance of modern theory for the interpretation of medieval artifacts is shown to depend upon the parallel existence of theoretical activity by the producers and users of such artifacts. In the cultural landscape of the central Middle Ages, the axes of iconicity, semantics and materiality traced by charters, seals, and by both concrete and metaphorical images of the imprint, dynamically shaped the boundaries within which a sense of self was formulated, modulated, experienced, and enacted.
Description for Reader
All those interested in medieval sign theory, semiotic anthropology, and the interaction of law, exegesis, media, strategies of identity, and documentary practices during the Middle Ages.
Table of Contents
List of Platesp. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xxv
Acknowledgmentsp. xxvii
Introductionp. 1
Sources and Methods
Beyond the Text: Medieval Documentary Practicesp. 9
Medieval Charters, Then and Nowp. 9
Documentary, Production and Conservationp. 13
Diplomatic Discourse and the Performance of Chartersp. 17
Acculturation to Documentary Practicesp. 22
The Authentication of Charters: Persons, Signs, Sealsp. 26
The Scope of Medieval Charter Referentialityp. 31
Toward an Archaeology of the Medieval Charterp. 37
The Archival Profile of Saint-Fursy of PĆ©ronnep. 40
The Production and Reproduction of Charters at Notre-Dame of HombliƩresp. 44
The Dispersed Charters of the Counts of Ponthieup. 46
Authority, Authenticity, and the Intertextuality of Diplomatic Discoursep. 49
Narrative From and Material Format: A Mutual Engagementp. 50
Sign Theory, Medieval and Modernp. 55
The Role of Theory in Sigillographyp. 55
Evaluating Sign Theoriesp. 60
A Mutually Challenging Encounter: Semiotic Anthropology and the Middle Agesp. 65
The King's Signp. 75
A Merovingian Icon: The Royal Sealp. 76
Carolingian Rulers: The Power of Royal and Imperial Sealsp. 78
Post-Carolingian Kingship: Sealing in Transitionp. 84
Capetian Kings: The End of a Prerogative and the Re-Invention of the Royal Sealp. 90
Eucharistic Theology and Episcopal Signaturep. 95
Episcopal Modes of Communicationp. 96
The Debate over Real Presence and the Appearance of Episcopal Sealsp. 102
Medieval Identity: Subject, Object, Agencyp. 109
A Network of Schools and Chanceriesp. 113
The Augustinian Paradox and its Role in Scholarly Controversyp. 121
Personhood and Individualityp. 129
The Ego of Diplomatic Discoursep. 132
Persona in Sign and Metaphorp. 140
Ego to Imagop. 150
From Identity to Stereotypep. 152
Images of Identity and the Identity of Imagesp. 161
Images and the Senses: From Gregory the Great to Guillaume Durandp. 161
The Currency of Imago: Augustine, Byzantine Anti-Iconoclasm, and Twelfth-Century Scholarshipp. 171
Mirrorp. 180
Imprintp. 186
Replicap. 202
Difformitas: Invective, Individuality, Identityp. 209
The Invectiva of Arnulf of Lisieuxp. 210
Strategies of Character Assassinationp. 216
The Rehtoric of Vilificationp. 220
'Difformitas' as Individualityp. 225
The Semiotics of Personality in the Middle Agesp. 231
Identity and Individualityp. 233
Individuality and Personhoodp. 235
Urban Identity and the Ideal Cityp. 238
The Saint and the Cityp. 243
Urban Identity and the Historical Cityp. 247
The Individuality of Human Collectivesp. 249
Conclusionp. 253
Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 287
Platesp. 296
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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