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Reading Images

Reading Images
Narrative Discourse and Reception in the Thirteenth-Century Illuminated Apocalypse

Out of Print

  • Date Published: February 1996
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print February 2017
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521479202

Out of Print

Unavailable - out of print February 2017
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About the Authors
  • Reading Images focuses on the multi-layered relationships between the textual image and its reader-viewer in the Apocalypse manuscripts produced in England during the thirteenth century, a period of profound changes in the social and cultural fabric. The exponential expansion in the production and dissemination of illuminated manuscripts that occurred at this time provided a critical, cultural mechanism for the creation of new technologies of the self. Within the framework of this newly-discernible subjectivity, Suzanne Lewis examines how reader-viewers cultivated the art of memory and contemporary theories of vision, which invested images with the power to promote memory and offer spiritual sustenance, and also to articulate and activate dominant ideological positions regarding the self, society, and the 'other'. As the Apocalypse narrative was visualised in pictures, it became a powerful paradigm within which problematic contemporary experiences such as anti-Judaism, the later Crusades, and expectations of the world's end could be defined. Reading Images explores the kinds of contemporary mythologies that constitute ideology, a realm in which visual representation becomes an agent rather than a reflector of social change.

    • Accessible - brings the medieval experience of reading images within the orbit of late twentieth century understanding
    • Innovative - breaks with traditional approaches to the Apocalypse manuscripts
    • Subject important not only to art history but to the whole spectrum of medieval studies
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1996
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521479202
    • length: 489 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 212 x 31 mm
    • weight: 1.666kg
    • contains: 252 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print February 2017
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Apocalypsis depictus: A book of visions
    Part I. Decoding The Thirteenth-Century Apocalyptic Discourse:
    1. Auctor et Auctoritas: St John as seer, author, preceptor, and pilgrim
    2. Problems of archetype, genre and narrative
    3. The narrative paradigm: a synchronic view
    Part II. Locating The Thirteenth-Century Reader InThe Book:
    4. The ideology of the book: referencing contemporary crisis within specular structures of power
    5. Transactional experiences encoded in the imaged text
    6. Picturing other visions: expanding the reader's experience of the book in three appended cycles of illustration
    Epilogue: the jagged edge.

  • Author

    Suzanne Lewis, Stanford University, California

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