medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

CFP:  Special session, 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies

Western Michigan University, May 14-17, 2015


Figurations of Male Beauty in Medieval Culture

Please send one-page proposals to Gerry Guest ([log in to unmask])


During the central and later Middle Ages, there existed a complex set of typologies for understanding male beauty.  Although often problematized, physical beauty could be seen as a positive trait in men.  Thus, male saints could be described as physically beautifully, their outward appearance reflecting their inner sanctity.  Knights might be described as beautiful, either in their physical proportions or for their glittering, colorful armor and accoutrements.  Youthful male beauty was seen in still other ways.  Elsewhere, male beauty could be also be seen as being intertwined with pride and other sins.  Despite this provocative diversity of attitudes, little has been published on the ways in which medieval people understood the complex intersection of masculinity and beauty at this time.  This session hopes to offer a start toward remedying that gap.  A diversity of approaches and topics is hoped for.


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