Mercy and the Misericord in Late Medieval England: Cathedral Theology and Architecture

Author: Barton, Paulette E.
Year:2009
Pages:320
ISBN:0-7734-4841-1
978-0-7734-4841-4
Price:219.95

Awarded the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship
This work examines medieval cathedral practice through the analysis of choir stalls. The author demonstrates that far from being merely decorative, these seats reveal much about Medieval society, law and feudal responsibility. This book contains forty black and white photographs and two diagrams.

Reviews

“Beyond the specific focus of her study, Paulette presents a model of study extremely useful in other realms of material cultural history, in closely looking at details that served every-day living as a participatory key to the larger issues framing pervasive social practices. Linking the connotative iconographies of misericord reliefs into the larger social realm of semiotic richness moves them from one of an insular curiosity to living participants in a complex, vital community. Across myriad focused studies, what might appear as relatively niche interests reveal themselves as significant contributors to larger cultural understandings through Paulette’s invaluable model of closely examining each work in terms of its interlinked social functions.” – Prof. Michael Grillo, University of Maine

“. . . a refreshing, insightful, and erudite introduction to the structure, meaning, and significance of these oftentimes overlooked architectural features of churches and cathedrals into the seventeenth century. . . . Mercy is a connection between heaven and earth, Barton explains, and thus the misericords, with their obvious linguistic link, should be seen as small yet important expressions of that mercy, especially in that misericords, while seemingly insignificant and almost hidden from view, nonetheless subtly and daily give witness to those who use them of the ever present and tender mercy of God.” – Prof. John R. Fortin, Saint Anselm College

Table of Contents

Preface by Michael Grillo
Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Introduction: “Quo vadis?”
Chapter I: in misericordia Regis
Chapter II: de Ecclesia
Chapter III: de Regula
Chapter IV: stallum in choro
Chapter V: de Solitudo
Chapter VI: de Intelligentia
Conclusion: miserere me, deus
Appendix A
Bibliography
Index