Literary depictions of the sacred and the secular from the Middle Ages are representative of the era's widely held cultural understandings related to religion and the nature of lived experience. Using late Medieval English literature, including some of Chaucer's writings, these essays do not try to define a secular realm distinct and separate from the divine or religious, but instead analyze intersections of the sacred and the profane, suggesting that these two categories are mutually constitutive rather than antithetical. With essays by former students of John V. Fleming, the collection pays tribute to the Princeton University professor emeritus through wide-ranging scholarship and literary criticism. Including reflections on depictions of Bathsheba, Troilus and Criseyde, the Legend of Good Women, Chaucer's Pardoner, and Margery Kempe, these essays focus on literature while ranging into history, philosophy, and the visual arts. Taken together, the work suggests that the domain of the sacred, as perceived in the Middle Ages, can variously be seen as having a hierarchical or a complementary relationship to the things of this world.
Robert Epstein is an associate professor in the Department of English at Fairfield University. William Robins is an associate professor in the Department of English and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.
Acknowledgements * Introduction: The Sacred, the Profane, and Late Medieval Literature * Bathsheba in the Eye of the Beholder: Artistic Depiction from the Late Middle Ages to Rembrandt by David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) * Susanna's Voice by Lynn Staley (Colgate University) * The Ends of Love: (Meta)physical Desire in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde by Jamie Fumo (McGill University) * Troilus in the Gutter by William Robins (University of Toronto) * The Suicide of the Legend of Good Woman by Julia Marvin (University of Notre Dame) * Sacred Commerce: Chaucer's Friar and the Spirit of Money by Robert Epstein (Fairfield University) * How (Not) to Preach: Thomas Waleys and Chaucer's Pardoner by Martin Camargo (University of Illinois) * Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy in The Book of Margery Kempe by Fiona Tolhurst (University of Geneva) * Preface to Fleming by Steven Justice (University of California, Berkeley) * Bibliography of the Scholarship of John V Fleming Contributors Index