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Brueghel's Heavy Dancers : Transgressive Clothing, Class, and Culture in the Late Middle Ages (Hardcover)

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"Erudite, perceptive, and witty, as always, John Friedman shows the social implications and symbolism of medieval clothing."?Paul Freedman, Yale University

"With a sharp eye for fashion and an astute analysis of cultural indicators permeating this body of literature, Friedman uncovers commonalities and contrasts, underscoring ways in which social status, and even fear in the face of change, were concerns that extended beyond national boundaries in medieval Europe."?Geri L. Smith, author of The Medieval French Pastourelle Tradition

What do Brueghel's mid-sixteenth-century portrayals of "heavy" wedding dancers and feasters have in common with many late medieval poems and manuscript illustrations? Art historians have often treated Brueghel's paintings, with their obsessive social detail, as if they heralded a set of cultural attitudes peculiar to the Early Modern period. Yet the way that the painter combines, in a single scene, scurrilous behavior with dress not only unsuited to the rustic status of the wearers but often sexually revealing, reflects attitudes toward clothing, class, and culture that are deeply medieval. In this expansive and highly original book, Friedman shows how conventional portrayals of obedient peasants, dating back to classical antiquity, were increasingly replaced in the Middle Ages by representations of realistic peasants, whose outrageous behavior betrayed their class while threatening those who stood "above."

Capacious in scope, the book covers poems from England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries. In addition, Friedman draws on texts from various genres, particularly the pastourelle, giving readers the first panoramic approach to late medieval views of peasant clothing and certain related social behaviors such as eating, public excretion, brawling, and "mooning." The book examines elite anxiety over the socially striving lower classes during a period in which social identity was fluid and hierarchies were increasingly challenged by pressure from below. Illustrated with over twenty black-and-white images and offering detailed analyses of lyrics, plays, and poems, Brueghel's Heavy Dancers offers a fresh and illuminating contribution to the field of medieval studies


Publisher Syracuse Univ Pr
Mfg Part# 9780815632153
SKU 212985379
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0815632150
Release Date 5/1/2010
Product Attributes
Book Format Hardcover
Number of Pages 0361
Publisher Syracuse University Press
$38.58 + free shipping
$45.00 You save $6.42 (14%)
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