This collection considers the diverse descriptions, theories and accounts of minds found in a variety of medieval sources to advance our knowledge of medieval minds and materiality. Both ‘minds’ and ‘materiality’ in the medieval period have traditionally been studied in isolation. Research has evolved and various publications have shown a strong connection between these two subjects; illuminating the materiality of minds and interplay between cognition and material environment. 

By comparing perspectives from various periods and regions, and asking questions about the nature of these perspectives, this collection stimulates development in scholarly thinking on minds and material environment. What did medieval people consider their minds to consist of and how were they thought to function, and what part did their material surroundings play in this? How firm are the boundaries between the mind and external world? The introduction and papers explore and enlarge the definition of the medieval mind, medieval materiality and the notion of the ‘medieval’ itself in a global context, as well as the paradoxical, ambiguous, and slippery relationships between the material and immaterial.

Banner image: Diagram of the four elements: fire, water, air, earth. British Library MS Harley 3017 f. 92. Public Domain.

Editors: James Louis Smith (Guest Editor), Merel Veldhuizen (Guest Editor)

Medieval Minds and Matter

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