The Medieval Heart Heather Webb

Publication date:
01 Mar 2010
256 pages: 235 x 156 x 18mm

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In this debut, Heather Webb studies medieval notions of the heart to explore the 'lost circulations' of an era when individual lives and bodies were defined by their extensions into the world rather than as self-perpetuating, self-limited entities. Drawing from the works of Dante, Catherine of Siena, Boccaccio, Aquinas, and Cavalcanti and other literary, philosophic, and scientific texts, she reveals medieval answers to such fundamental questions as: Where is life located? What does it consist of? Where does it begin? And how does it end? Against the modern idea of the isolated self, the medieval heart provides a model for rethinking the body's relationship to the world it inhabits.

Heather Webb is Assistant Professor of Italian, Department of French and Italian, at The Ohio State University.

"This beautiful book depicts an older, but not obsolete, alternative to the solitude and impenetrability of the modern self: the radically dialogical, shared, and permeable medieval heart."—Elena Lombardi, Modern Language Review Vol.196 Part.4