parts of the body. Humours-based medical theory held that all bodily fluids were processed forms of blood, and that their common origins rendered them interchangeable. Sometimes, for example, local authorities took preventative action: a set of regulations from 15th-century Southwark banished women with a burning sickness (probably gonorrhoea) from the local stews (brothels). Reading romance novels felt like forcing myself into a too-tight corset: reading fanfiction was like taking a deep breath. But I struggled with cognitive dissonance, since it was obvious to me that fanfiction had made me good at reading. Routine bleedings were used to balance the monks humours, minimising involuntary emissions of semen. Thats the vision thats dying today, the way the old Ghibelline ideal died a slow death in nineteenth-century Germany.
It was certainly dominant in the Middle Ages. It was pleasurable, yes, to imagine a romance with Jesus; but it also helped readers intensify and expand their love of God, so they might understand it and themselves better. What makes these images potent in human experience is that they dont go away when their immediate biological usefulness is finished. The Retro Future, its only in the daydreams of true believers that technological progress is exempt from the law of diminishing returns.
She works on medieval reading communities, fanfiction, critical theory, and. Her article Making Up Lost Time (2000) co-written with Laura Doan. Medieval people feared death by celibacy as much as venereal.
The Fourth Turning, as I suspect most of my readers know, is the title of a book by William Strauss and Neil Howe that argues, on the basis of a fair amount of evidence, that certain patterns in US political and cultural history repeat over. Humours were balanced, and good health maintained, through the expulsion of various bodily fluids, including semen. Many prevailing presumptions about the sex lives of our medieval ancestors are rooted in the erroneous belief that they lived in an unsophisticated age of religious fanaticism and medical ignorance. We tend to imagine medieval religion as an austere, ordered affair: monks chanting as they pray away the hours, copying books and making cheese. . According to medieval understandings of the body, based on the system of the four humours (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile these mens behaviour presented problems.
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