Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University
and Anne Whitney Olin Professor of English, Barnard College
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Royce 314 at 4 pm
The persistent linkage of crippled and royal bodies in the Middle Ages is nowhere more explicit than in the figure of Jacob, the lame patriarch. After his struggle with the angel (Genesis 32) Jacob remains lame, though imagery and commentary vary enormously in the degrees to which they emphasize or ignore his bodily condition. By the late twelfth century, across the thirteenth and into the fourteenth, Jacob is a single figure upon whom boundaries of time and place, the promise of territorial power, national integrity, divine vision and blessing, and a crippled body all converge. These culturally resonant bodies construct intense moments of royalty, power, personal or national integrity, and the work of the sacred.
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