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Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies


Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies

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    Available in PDF Format | Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies.pdf | English
    Andrew Joynes(Editor)
Stories of spirits returning from the afterlife are as old as storytelling: accounts of ghosts and revenants which have crossed the mysterious border between the living and the dead are a dominant theme in many cultures, and in medieval Europe ghosts, nightstalkers, wild hunts and unearthly visitors from parallel worlds have figured in stories already in circulation before the coming of Christianity. Medieval Ghost Stories is a collection of ghostly occurrences from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries; they have been found in monastic chronicles and preaching manuals, in sagas and heroic poetry, and in medieval romances. In a religious age, the tales bore a peculiar freight of spooks and spirituality which can still make hair stand on end; unfailingly, these stories give a fascinating and moving glimpse into the medieval mind. Look only at the accounts of Richard Rowntree's stillborn child, glimpsed by his father tangled in swaddling clothes on the road to Santiago, or the sly habits of water sprites resting as goblets and golden rings on the surface of the river, just out of reach...Andrew Joynes's thoughtful commentary relates content and form to events of the time: the monastic reform movement following the first millennium, the growth in philosophical speculation during the twelfth century renaissance, and the channelling of ancient Norse beliefs by Christian authors into the saga literature of Iceland. ANDREW JOYNES is a freelance writer, historian and broadcaster.

Truly...a landmark work. This impeccably researched and very readable book should appeal to a wide audience. MEDIEVAL REVIEWEvery reader is sure to find something new and many readers may find something to treasure in this sprightly anthology. ARTHURIANA

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Book details

  • PDF | 176 pages
  • Andrew Joynes(Editor)
  • The Boydell Press (3 May 2001)
  • English
  • 2
  • History
Read online or download a free book: Medieval Ghost Stories: An Anthology of Miracles, Marvels and Prodigies

Review Text

  • By Cari Hislop on 25 March 2013

    A fantastic collection of ghost stories sourced from Medieval manuscripts and Sagas from all over Europe.Introducing each section (and subsections divided by the sourced manuscript), Joynes sets the scene with a scholarly background/introduction. These helped me to better enjoy and understand the contexts of the stories.One of the reasons I love old ghost stories is that they're literary amber, capturing little details of an age that might otherwise be lost. For example, in one of the stories there is a gathering of ghosts met by a monk (or priest) and the ghostly leader orders one of the other ghosts to give the monk 'the kiss of Peace'. I'd heard of 'the kiss of peace'. This was the kiss that Medieval combatants would give each other (if both actually survived the battle/combat). I'd never heard of the kiss being given in a secular situation (without the kissers having tried to kill each other - or at least one of the kissers wanting/trying to kill the other). So I looked up 'the kiss of peace' and found that it was originally called the Sibbecoss, which would more literally translate as the kiss of kin (apparently the word sibling originally referred to kin or family). It brought to mind the French habit of greeting or departing friends and family with the formal kiss on both cheeks, against both cheeks or if not close kin, just kissing in the air near both cheeks. I wouldn't be surprised if this cheek kissing stems back to the kiss of peace...which is something that hadn't occurred to me before.I was also fascinated by the werewolf and vampire stories. I had no idea they were this old (and by implication even older). Medieval Kings had their own version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...and the stories were more same than different! Who would have thought?

  • By Guest on 18 April 2011

    I used this book as the basis for my MA thesis. It's an excellent read with a good range of tales. Unfortunately there are some stories missing, such as The Three Living and The Three Dead or the ghost stories of John Mirk. This of course isn't hugely relevant to the casual reader, I just would have liked to see them included.

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