"Saintly Topoi: The Liberatory Rhetoric of Medieval Miracle Collections"

Presented by Jordan Loveridge
PhD Student and Teaching Assistant in the ASU Department of English

Eventbrite - Ad Hoc Lecture: "Saintly Topoi: The Liberatory Rhetoric of Medieval Miracle Collections"

Free and open to the public

The stereotypical view of the middle ages suggests a period in which few people were free in the modern sense of the term, especially politically. However, a common literate practice found throughout Europe facilitated the free expression of dissent: miracle collection. Through the examination of the miracles recorded and attributed to Saint Leonard at Inchenhofen, Bavaria, I explore the rhetorical strategies used by pilgrims to testify to their imprisonment and oppression, as well as make arguments against abuse by local lords. Pilgrims to the Inchenhofen shrine participated in a goal-directed literate activity with a public memory function that extended beyond the collection and preservation of the miracles themselves. By creating a public space for critique, miracle collections preserved injustices within a socially acceptable and traditional story format, embodying the productive tension between decorum and generativity. Peasants and other members of the medieval lower classes exploited these tensions to reframe their mistreatment and circulate a counter-discourse arguing for social change.

Part of the ACMRS Ad Hoc Lecture Series

Lattie F. Coor Hall, Room 4403, ASU Tempe Campus