The Senses in Medieval Visionary Literature (session proposal for Leeds, International Medieval Congress 2011

full name / name of organization: 
Kimberley-Joy Knight, St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies; Rossana Vanelli Coralli, University of Bologna

Visionary Literature from the high-late medieval period is rich in sensory imagery. Ineffable religious experience was often defined in terms of the bodily and spiritual senses where holy men and women taste, see, hear and feel God intimately. Sensory experiences defined holiness. The reception of prophetic visions, the miracles that saints performed and the odour of sweetness released upon death were proof of God working within a holy person.

This session seeks papers that examine the senses in visionary literature from the high-late middle ages. As scholarly research in this area has focussed heavily on sight and visions, papers that examine the other senses are especially welcomed. Abstracts of no more than 250 words for 20 minute papers