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Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies [Paperback]

Andrew Joynes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Oct 2006
Strongly recommended. M R JAMES NEWSLETTER Stories of restless spirits returning from the afterlife are as old as storytelling. In medieval Europe ghosts, nightstalkers and unearthly visitors from parallel worlds had been in circulation since before the coming of Christianity. Here is a collection of ghostly encounters from medieval romances, monastic chronicles, sagas and heroic poetry. These tales bore a peculiar freight of spooks and spirituality which can still make the hair stand on end. Look at the story of Richard Rowntree's stillborn child, glimpsed by his father tangled in swaddling clothes on the road to Santiago, or the sly habits of water sprites resting as golden rings on the surface of the river, just out of reach. The writer and broadcaster Andrew Joynes brings together a vivid selection of these tales, with a thoughtful commentary that puts them in context and lays bare the layers of meaning in them.

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Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies + Ghosts in the Middle Ages: The Living And The Dead In Medieval Society
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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press; New edition edition (19 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843832690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856676024
  • Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 13.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

(Revied together with 'Medieval Comic Tales') Both make a delightful contribution to our understanding and mapping of those mental landscapes. They also allowed me to see the physical medieval landscape differently, reminding me that in the medieval period it had supernatural and metaphorical dimensions. In these tales a wide range of medieval people come to life. FINDS RESEARCH GROUP NEWSLETTERBR>A collection of stories that have stood the test of time. HISTORY MAGAZINE (US)(An) excellent compendium of medieval folklore. FORTEAN TIMESTruly ... a landmark work. This impeccably researched and very readable book should appeal to a wide audience. MEDIEVAL REVIEWEvery reader is sure to find something new and many readers may find something to treasure in this sprightly anthology. ARTHURIANAStrongly recommended. A convenient compendium indeed! MR JAMES NEWSLETTERAssembles dozens of ghostly tales from an impressive array of original sources ranging from Iceland to Florence. BBC HISTORY

From the Publisher

Seventy-seven tales of the supernatural, intended to frighten and excite and bring to heel their medieval audience, culled from medieval chronicles, preaching manuals, sagas, heroic poetry and romances. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary amber of a bygone age 25 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fantastic collection of ghost stories sourced from Medieval manuscripts and Sagas from all over Europe.
Introducing each section (and subsections divided by the sourced manuscript), Joynes sets the scene with a scholarly background/introduction. These helped me to better enjoy and understand the contexts of the stories.

One of the reasons I love old ghost stories is that they're literary amber, capturing little details of an age that might otherwise be lost. For example, in one of the stories there is a gathering of ghosts met by a monk (or priest) and the ghostly leader orders one of the other ghosts to give the monk 'the kiss of Peace'. I'd heard of 'the kiss of peace'. This was the kiss that Medieval combatants would give each other (if both actually survived the battle/combat). I'd never heard of the kiss being given in a secular situation (without the kissers having tried to kill each other - or at least one of the kissers wanting/trying to kill the other). So I looked up 'the kiss of peace' and found that it was originally called the Sibbecoss, which would more literally translate as the kiss of kin (apparently the word sibling originally referred to kin or family). It brought to mind the French habit of greeting or departing friends and family with the formal kiss on both cheeks, against both cheeks or if not close kin, just kissing in the air near both cheeks. I wouldn't be surprised if this cheek kissing stems back to the kiss of peace...which is something that hadn't occurred to me before.

I was also fascinated by the werewolf and vampire stories. I had no idea they were this old (and by implication even older). Medieval Kings had their own version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...and the stories were more same than different! Who would have thought?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book... 18 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book as the basis for my MA thesis. It's an excellent read with a good range of tales. Unfortunately there are some stories missing, such as The Three Living and The Three Dead or the ghost stories of John Mirk. This of course isn't hugely relevant to the casual reader, I just would have liked to see them included.
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