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Title: Review of Geary, Patrick J., 'Living with the dead in the Middle Ages', Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 1994: cloth and paper; pp. viii, 273; R.R.P. US$46.75 (cloth). $17.55 (paper)
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1996
DOI: 10.1353/pgn.1996.0014
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Abstract: There are twelve studies in this collection. Each is a revised version of one of Geary's essays which originally appeared in the period 1977 to 1988. They are clustered in five sections entitled: Reading, Representing, Negotiating, Reproducing, and Living. The whole is generously annotated and meticulously indexed by Celeste Newbrough, who has also supplied a particularly useful 'Index of published sources'. Whereas modem societies tend to banish the dead from the world of the living, and western 'developed' society as a whole is publicly guilty of this, medieval men and women accorded them a vital role in the community. The particular focus of this book is on the regions of Europe which, in medieval times, were under the direct influence of the Frankish political and cultural traditions. In them death marked not so much a tennination of existence as 'a transition, a change of status' (p. 2). For the living still owed them various obligations, in particular menwria (or 'remembrance'). This meant, in practical tenns, not merely liturgical remembrance in prayers and chantry masses for the dead, but preservation of the deeds of the departed, perhaps the true origins of more modem oral history and folk legend.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Parergon, 13(2), p. 255-258
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1832-8334
Field of Research (FOR): 229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified
210307 European History (excl British, Classical Greek and Roman)
169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: D3 Review of Single Work
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