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The Medieval Chastity Belt: A Myth-Making Process: The Myth-making Process (The New Middle Ages) [Hardcover]

Albercht Classen

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Book Description

9 April 2008 The New Middle Ages
The chastity belt is one of those objects people have commonly identified with the 'dark' Middle Ages. This book analyzes the origin of this myth and demonstrates how a convenient misconception, or contorted imagination, of an allegedly historical practice has led to profoundly flawed interpretations of control mechanisms used by jealous husbands.

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"In this huge project, Professor Classen has dared to tread on ground often shunned by many scholars and manages to make this book quite delightful in some of its surprising literary discoveries. His research is thorough, his prose readable and enjoyable, the subject captivating."--Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching "Classen's analysis of the mythology of the chastity belt is nothing short of brilliant. His dissection of the literary and iconographic evidence from the late Middle Ages to the twentieth century is exhaustive and highly illuminating. By surveying texts in a wide range of languages, he demonstrates the longevity of a mythic notion with no historical substance. In the process, he sheds profound light on the images about sexuality and purity in medieval literature and art, radically misunderstood in the modern period. This book is to be recommended to specialists in medieval and early modern culture as much as to those generally interested in the capacity of myths to shape and distort our understanding of sexual identity."--Constant J. Mews, Monash University"In this tour-de-force, Classen explodes the myth of the medieval chastity belt, but he also does more. He reveals how the myth came into existence and how it grew over time. In doing so, he has written a witty and fascinating piece of intellectual and social history which transcends the boundary between the medieval and modern and is exemplary in its scholarship and balance."--William Chester Jordan, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University "What a delight! With humor, erudition, and a fine sense of history's changing mind-sets, Classen takes the reader on a wonderful and surprising journey into a realm where academics often fear to tread. Many a modern scholar may be a bit chagrined by Classen's research and results, but wholly captivated; and the medievalist will surely smile."--G. Ronald Murphy, SJ, Georgetown University"The chastity belt is a bizarre produc

About the Author

ALBERCHT CLASSEN is a medievalist in the Department of German Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

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