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Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (Essays in Art and Culture)
 
 

Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art (Essays in Art and Culture) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Camille
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Review

[A] sprightly and suggestive study. -- Richard Eder "Los Angeles Times Book Review"

Product Description

What do they all mean – the lascivious ape, autophagic dragons, pot-bellied heads, harp-playing asses, arse-kissing priests and somersaulting jongleurs to be found protuding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? Michael Camille explores that riotous realm of marginal art, so often explained away as mere decoration or zany doodles, where resistance to social constraints flourished.
Medieval image-makers focused attention on the underside of society, the excluded and the ejected. Peasants, servants, prostitutes and beggars all found their place, along with knights and clerics, engaged in impudent antics in the margins of prayer-books or, as gargoyles, on the outsides of churches. Camille brings us to an understanding of how marginality functioned in medieval culture and shows us just how scandalous, subversive and amazing the art of the time could be.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6417 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (11 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H8OZZ3S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #588,712 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars B&W 23 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good book -- but it is an immense shame that none of the illustrations are in colour! I was quite surprised.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Exploration of the Margins of Medieval Culture 7 Dec 1999
By Philipp W. Rosemann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For readers unfamiliar with the culture of the Middle Ages, it is surprising, and perhaps even disconcerting, to learn that a medieval manuscript of a prayer-book could contain marginal images of human excrement, or that medieval churches were frequently adorned with gargoyles depicting diabolic and uncanny figures. This book by Michael Camille, professor of art history at the University of Chicago, is devoted to explaining these strange "margins" of medieval culture. Camille essentially argues that, while such marginal images could on the face of it be interpreted as subverting the conventions of the dominating center of culture, they ultimately served to reinforce it. As the author puts it on page 127, "the edges of discourse...always return us to the rules of the center." In other words, medieval artists toyed with the margins of culture, with "otherness" and difference, yet ultimately sided with the "good" and the "normal." Interestingly enough, the marginal images which were so typical of the high Middle Ages disappeared at the beginning of the modern age. Camille suggests that the margins lost their function of hinting at the ugly reverse of mainstream culture in an age where the mainstream both asserted itself more strongly, rigorously demarcating "low" from "high" culture, and at the same time dissolved difference in the medium of bourgeois taste. Peasants and drunkards, for example, became the explicit object of a genre called the "grotesque." At the end of this fine book, Camille writes: "art collapsed inwards, to create a more literal and myopic dead-center [devoid of the medieval playfulness], taking with it edges and all" (p. 160).
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Luminous Colors of the Dark Ages. 2 Nov 2009
By Jan Dierckx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With 86 illustrations, 13 in full color.

What do they all mean - the apes, the dragons, pot-bellied heads, and somersaulting jongleurs to be find protruding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? Michael Camille explores that riotous realm of marginal art so often explained away as mere decorations or amusing doodles. He shows that the true nexus of innovation in the art of the time is not to be found where so many have sought it - within the heavily conventionalized centre - but on the edge, where resistance to medieval social constraints flourished.

Medieval image-makers focused attention on the underside of society, the excluded and the ejected. These peasants, servants, prostitutes and beggars all found there place, along with knights and clerics, engaged in impudent antics in the margins of prayer-books or, as gargoyles, on the outside of churches. Camille brings us to an understanding of how marginality functioned in medieval culture and shows us just how scandalous, subversive and amazing the art of the time could be.
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this book 26 Dec 2012
By Diane Croft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The subject matter was absolutely compelling, and I couldn't wait for the book to arrive. But, alas, whatever the author was trying to say got lost in the disjointed writing. It lacks a trajectory of meaningful analysis.
16 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars painful 21 Mar 2005
By clifford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had to read this for a class. This is not for anyone unless you are searching for strict information. Camille manages to give countless astute observations that would be very helpful in building up a paper. But as historical book unto itself that guises itself as text interpreting Medieval Europe through rebellious artwork, it just doesn't hold much water. The confines here are soooooo narrow that unless you have already a great passion for artwork of this period you will be left quite numb.
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