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Strange Beauty


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Table of Contents

ContentsList of IllustrationsPrefacePart I: First Things1 Introduction2 The Reliquary and Its Maker3 Relics, Meaning, and Response: Early Christian Reliquaries, Narrative and NotPart II: Shaped Reliquaries4 Spolia and Sign, Metaphor and Simile5 The Reliquary Cross6 Like and Unlike Metaphors7 Body-Part Reliquaries: Heads8 Body Part Reliquaries: Other Body PartsPart III: A Gathering of Saints: Processions and Treasuries9 Reliquaries in Action10 Treasuries11 Relic Display12 A Case Study: Wibald of Stavelot as Patron13 The Impact of 1204, the "Space" of the Ark, and ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Cynthia Hahn is Professor of Art History at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center.


"Lavishly illustrated in color, this book will be of fundamental importance."

-J. Oliver, Choice

"[Strange Beauty] stands as a major study in the field and is worth a serious read. Since Strange Beauty, more literature has engaged with concepts of reception, materiality, metaphor, and performance, demonstrating the continued relevance of this approach. As important as this work is to the study of relics, it is Hahn's approach to the complexities of material culture that will provide the greatest appeal to a wide range of scholars and students, both within and beyond medieval studies."

-Eliza A. Foster, Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture

"Cynthia Hahn offers a refreshing new synthesis on the topic of medieval reliquaries. She shows that they are a form of `representation' that mediates religious experience of relics as well as their political and institutional meanings. Engaging both primary sources and current theoretical writings, Hahn's text will be of crucial interest to a broader readership concerned with the material embodiment of the sacred and strategies of representation."

-Thomas Dale, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"What discourses of otherness exist as particular and appropriate to premodernity and not as retrofitted versions of the theoretical frameworks designed to consider these issues for modernity? Addressing this question can profit us beyond the domain of medieval studies. Strange Beauty's intricate objects offer clues to such possible discourses, expressed visually and poised to train viewers-medieval and modern-in significations that we still seek to understand."

-Seeta Chaganti, CAA.Reviews

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