Splintered souls

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Splintered souls the values conflict between the Romanesque and the Gothic
Portion of title:
Values conflict between the Romanesque and the Gothic
Hautin-Mayer, Joanna Elizabeth
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v, 47 leaves : ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Social evolution ( lcsh )
Architecture, Romanesque ( lcsh )
Art, Romanesque ( lcsh )
Architecture, Gothic ( lcsh )
Art, Gothic ( lcsh )
Architecture, Gothic ( fast )
Architecture, Romanesque ( fast )
Art, Gothic ( fast )
Art, Romanesque ( fast )
Social evolution ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 43-47).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Humanities.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Joanna Elizabeth Hautin-Mayer.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
34628337 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L58 1995m .H38 ( lcc )

Full Text
Joanna Elizabeth Hautin-Mayer
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Humanities
1 995

This thesis for the Masters of Humanities
degree by
Joanna Elizabeth Hautin-Mayer
has been approved
Frederick Allen
'3L>\a1 \H
H ~ -------------

Hautin-Mayer, Joanna Elizabeth Splintered Souls: The Values Conflict between the Romanesque
and the;Gothic
Thesis directed by Associate Professer Ernest Porps
I intend in this study to explore what I perceive as a
shift in cultural values in the Middle Ages from those
espoused in the art and architecture of the Romanesque to
those of the Gothic style. I believe this shift in artistic
styles represents a significant psychic change, and that the
reconsideration of social values, experienced in the 12th
and 13th centuies, still permeates our culture and
influences us today. In my opinion this psychic break could
be seen asia kind of cultural psychosis, which requires
immediate attention as we approach the end of the 20th
century. As our culture has been highly influenced by the
values of the Middle Ages we need to reexamine this period
in time so that we might come to a better understanding of
ourselves, and thus more effectively chart our course into
the 21st century.

This abstract accurately represents the contents of the
candidates thesis. I recommend i^ [JUbl-hga^~fni
Signed __________

1 INTRODUCTION.................................... 1
The Medieval Situation....................... 6
Cluny......................................... 10
St. Bernard & the Cistercians................. 14
3 CONFLICT & ICONOGRAPHY............................21
4 CONCLUSION....................................... 34

What precipitates radical changes in culture? What are the
core values of any social system and how do they affect change?
When can pivotal ideas rework fundamental values so
significantly that an entire culture is redefined?
As I examined the art and architecture of the Middle Ages I
became aware of a significant change in the art style around the
12th century C.E. Usually this change is simply referred to as
the end of the Romanesque and the beginning of the Gothic style.
As I more carefully considered this issue I found that this
transition was more than just a movement from one artistic style
to another. I became convinced that the values of the Romanesque
and the Gothic were radically different, that they represented
diametrically opposing points of view. I became intrigued how
could any society so significantly change its core values to
such a radical extent. What would cause such a fundamental
rethinking of underlying social norms?
This work will explore the values shift perceived between the
artistic and architectural style known as the Romanesque
(10th-12th centuries) and the Gothic style from the 12th-14th
centuries, and examine some of the reasons for this break in

the cultural paradigms which have been observed.
The art of any era is highly reflective of the values of the
culture that created it. Various cultural and artistic elements
can influence one another, bonding and changing into something
new yet still grounded in the foundation of core values.
There is an element of conformity to early medieval art,
which belies the variety of diverse influences. Certain salient
features may resist direct adaptation while other elements mix
and mingle undergoing a sea change as it were. This process
reaches its zenith in the development of the Romanesque.
Indeed, the concept of metamorphosis, of transformation from
one state to another, is very much at the heart of early
medieval art. It is especially prevalent in the style of art and
architecture known as the Romanesque. Constant movement and
constant change is suggested, as images and forms seem to grow,
diminish and transform themselves before the eyes of the viewer.
However, the celebration of rigid immobile forms, the drive
to restrain and bind, the hunger for stillness and the longing
for quietude are all aspects of the later movement known as the
Gothic. This fascinating shift of emphasis in values, away from
metamorphosis towards rigidity, from chaotic noise to silence,
suggests much about the psyche of the people at this time. It
also has a great deal to say about ourselves.

At its core the Romanesque style of art and architecture was
about metamorphosis and transformation. Beginning-if anyone can
suggest an exact dating system for the tracking of an art
movement-in the 8th century, Romanesque Art flourished in the
10th-13th centuries. Romanesque imagery can best be described as
Epic. Its images were often "bigger than life", its iconography
is marked by the flowing interpenetration of diverse images,
with the only constant being that of change.
But in the development of the Gothic we find a movement away
from this Protean view, a movement away from change, away from
the plastic magical elements so vividly expressed in the
Romanesque. The Gothic movement at its core, is a movement away
from the physical world. The Gothic style with its focus on
abstract principles and its love of the interplay of light and
space celebrated a kind of non physicality and sought a
release from the very lush materiality which the Romanesque so
We can see this tendency by examining the wonderful and
strange proliferation of images which run throughout the history
of decoration in Romanesque Churches. Within the decorative
iconography of Romanesque Art we find the magical world of
constant metamorphosis. Strange figures and animals are
constantly stretching dissolving and changing. "Man loses
..identity and obedient to the which the universe is

constantly created, broken down, and recomposed, he also assumes
a monstrous guise"(Focillon and Bony.The Art of the West in the
Middle Ages pages 104-105).
Monstrous perhaps, yet this is also wonderful, for here
nothing is entirely what it appears. Everything takes on a
plastic quality. To the descendants of the Vikings who were
sweeping through much of Western Europe this state of wonderful
and terrible flux was very appealing and somewhat familiar. It
spoke to them of their Pagan roots in which the cycles of the
seasons and the wheel of the year represented constant
The hidden force which reshaped living creatures at will also
conferred on them a kind of multiple existence more mobile, more
passionate, more "real" than life itself. Figures are divided,
reunited, grow two heads for one body or two bodies for one
head, wrestle one another, consume one another and are reborn.
In the midst of study, just as one seems close to grasping
the meaning behind all of these permutations the images slip
away from us, transforming yet again, and we who too often seek
to find a rigid absolute truth, find that we cannot keep pace
with the power of continuous metamorphosis.
We are handicapped by our perceptions and limited in our
understanding because of the duality and polarity within our

culture. I believe that these values can be traced back directly
to the advent of the Gothic. If we wish to transcend the limits
which these values have set on us we must look to the roots of
the Gothic and the Romanesque.

The Medieval Situation
By the beginning of the 10th century in Europe the flood of
overt violent change as represented by the visible breakdown
of the far flung outposts of the Roman Empire and the various
waves of Barbaric invasions which moved in from all directions -
seemed to be gradually ebbing. The economy, now almost entirely
based on localized agricultural produce, had become more or less
stable and the local population, although notably lessened by
the winnowing process of flood, famine, general unrest and
violent invasion, was also becoming more balanced.
This was most definitely a period of history which
challenged both the individual and the greater establishment to
be flexible, to adapt quickly to serious change, or to perish.
Feudalism, having begun as a practical manner of survival in a
chaotic environment, was functioning with some real success into
the Middle Ages. The church, having weathered persecution and
the political upheaval, had adapted itself to the challenges
of heathen Europe by co-opting much from the symbolism of the
indigenous fertility cults. To survive and prosper in such an
environment one was oblidged to transform oneself or risk being
Taking into consideration the political atmosphere of the

early middle ages, this fascination with constant, sometimes
violent change was not at all a surprising concept. Even in the
midst of such often chaotic changes we can see an environment
ripe for the exchange of ideas. For at this time most
especially the concepts of the Roman world came into conflict
with those of the invading hordes. From both the North and the
South -in the forms of the Vikings and later, in the Islamic
expansions into Spain, examples of exotic and pagan ideas were
coming into direct conflict with what was left of the Roman
Throughout Europe the Church was in a state of flux trying to
establish,itself while still struggling with internal conflict,
as well as trying to meet the pagan challenges brought by the
previously mentioned invading forces. Within the Church eastern
archaic images mingled with more orthodox Jewish traditional
concepts and with the pagan beliefs still widespread throughout
much of Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
Prior to the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries the entire nature
of European culture was in a state of metamorphosis. Indeed, the
psychic consciousness of an entire people was being transformed
from one of local tribal orientation to one of a larger
nominally Christian culture. It was in fact a strange
conglomeration, a patchwork of Pagan and Christian, Roman and
Barbaric. The very breath of the Middle Ages was that of the
energy of transformation.

Combining the debris of classical antiquity the
vestiges of barbaric culture and the contributions of
the East, it comprehended man under various aspects
which it never ceased to study...Monasticism had
scattered far and wide the sediments of the most
ancient civilizations Christian
symbolism; thus the visions of Egyptian monks were
mingled with the linear musings of the Celts. The
foundations...of medieval art were laid by such
fusions...the culture was thus ...transformed and
enriched.(Focillon and Bony,The Art of the West in the
Middle Ages, page 6)
The dynamic influx of the Invasions brought what was left of
the Roman world into a whole new light. But the intellectuals
living in the Middle Ages saw themselves as the preservers of
the Roman Empire. Rather than the superstitious fanatics that we
too often judge them to be, people in the Middle Ages saw
themselves as the Christian champions of the best of ancient
Roman civilization.
The world of the 10th-13th centuries was one of constant,
often violent change. But this element of change created a
wonderfully rich environment for exchange. New ideas and
images heightened the meanings of older, more familiar metaphors
throughout Art and Culture.
The tension between the Roman and the Barbaric worlds
created an environment in which concepts such as Romanesque Art
could develop. Indeed, at its heart lies the drive for
growth, the instinct for Metamorphosis. Europe was both

Pagan and Christian, both localized and international in spirit
This strange hybrid creation was best expressed by Romanesque
Art. It would be instrumental in the creation of a system
composed of both Barbaric and Roman, yet distinct in itself.
This developement was pivotal in the growth of the modern
Western psyche.

Clun v
There were two pivotal socio-religious movements within the
Romanesque period that were to have very powerful effects on the
development of the art and architecture of this period. They
were the Cluniac and Cistercian movements. Let us begin with the
Cluniac movement.
One of the original pivotal movements in the early
Romanesque period, the Cluniac movement was part of an
attempt to purge the overt influence of the laity over church
affairs. Throughout the early days of Christianity and
especially after its establishment as state religion, the power
of the church and the secular world were increasingly difficult
to separate.
Secular leaders would seek out and often find -
sympathetic ears in the fledgling church hierarchy, and the
spiritual leaders would align themselves with whatever political
movement was most likely to benefit them. It was virtually
impossible to discern a dividing line between these two mixed
realms until the 11th century. The establishment of Cluny was
the beginning of that delineation.
Founded in the 11th century, Cluny was a one of a kind

establishment. Its radically independent status and its power
have no real parallels, either in the medieval era, or in our
own. Specifically designed to stand independent of all outside
influence, both the machinations of the secular and the whims of
corrupt Church fathers. The early church, by aligning itself
with secular leaders so as to cement its position and spread its
influence, had inadvertently started the trend. But the goals of
the secular world and those of the spiritual were not always the
same and soon there were those in Church hierarchy who wished to
cut the unnecessary ties now that Christianity had comfortably
become well entrenched.
Secular influences were to this perspective more of a
hindrance than a help. The church was attempting to develop its
autonomy and saw itself as an institution essential to the world
yet apart from secular politics. With Cluny this theory was to
be freely explored.
Within the charter of Cluny, restrictions on both the
influence of the state and of the Pope were established with
somber threats to the eternal fates of any who ignored these
guidelines. They would be held accountable at the Judgement Day
if they compromised the independence of Cluny. Thus Cluny was a
Christian microcosm totally independent of Papal influence and
secular authority. The abbot of Cluny had absolute control and
named his own successor while in most situations either worldly

politics or church intrigue would prevail.
Having been released from both secular and church politics,
the monks at Cluny were free to explore a revitalized state of
worship. The sanctity of the mass was exalted and every priest,
was openly encouraged to celebrate it as an aspect of adoration.
Constant and unending prayer was also introduced as was the
encouragement of prayers for the dead, and some have chosen to
interpret this as a form of revived pagan ancestor worship. It
is not surprising when one considers how much of the old
heathenism had been incorporated into the church. Cluny was a
Benedictine order but its emphasis on enhanced ritual and
ceremony was to greatly influence the growth of architecture in
the early Middle Ages.
By successfully encouraging the constant celebration of
the mass, it soon became necessary to handle hundreds of
priests and worshipers in an enclosed space easily and
effectively. Thus the development of the elaborate chapel system
pioneered at Cluny. Along with prayer and worship, singing was
especially encouraged and the development of a complex system of
choir naves were built to increase the resonance and power of
such acts of worship.
The decorative arts were in no way neglected. Cluny was a
thriving center of spiritual growth and artistic exploration.

At Cluny the physical world was not alien to the spiritual, it
was a stage on which the sacred drama might be played out.
God Was made manifest in and through the natural world and
man was free to enjoy the wonders of this realm so that through
the creation, the forces of a transforming Protean God might be
seen at work. What better place to celebrate the glory of
creation than in the decoration of abbeys, churches and
We can only guess at the rich plastic metamorphic power of
the images which must have decorated Cluny. Unfortunately, most
of the remaining structures were destroyed during the French
Revolution a period in which everything medieval was despised
and held to be oppressive.

St. Bernard and the Cistercians
Pope Gregory the Great, at the end of the 6th century knew
that the church must attempt "to accommodate and accept the
prevailing popular religion with its magic, devils and fertility
cults. Contemporary leaders realized that the conversion of the
heathens would have to be gradual. Drastic exicision of their
ancient paganism was neither possible nor desirable"(Cantor,
Inventing the Middle Ages page 23).
Although perfectly practical at the time, Gregory's
compromise would not always be considered a good idea. Not
everyone would be comfortable with an amalgamation of Heathenism
and Christianity.
From a letter written around 1125 by St. Bernard of Clairvaux
from the Appologia ad Willimum:
In the cloisters under the eyes of the brethren engaged
in reading what business has there that ridiculous
monstrosity, that amazing misshapen shaplyness and shapely
misshapeness? Those unclean monkeys? Those fierce lions?
Those monstrous centaurs? Those semi human beings? Those
spotted tigers? Those fighting warriors ? Those huntsmen
blowing in their horns? Here you behold several bodies
beneath one head, there again several heads upon on body.
Here you see a quadruped with the tail of a serpent there
a fish with the head of a quadruped. There an animal
suggests a horse in front and half a goat behind, here a
horned beast exhibits the rear part of a horse. In fine,
on all sides there appears so rich a and so amazing a
variety of forms that that it is more delightful to read
the marbles than the manuscripts and to spend the whole

day in admiring these things piece by piece, rather than
in meditating on the Law of God (Henderson, Early
Medieval Style and Civilization, page 95).
In the middle of the 12th century many intellectuals patrons
and artists began to reconsider the core philosophies of
Christianity as practiced at that time and the representational
style of Christian art. Whether this is entirely due to
Bernard's influential critique is hard to say but one thing is
certain. The prevailing artistic and architectural style Known
as Romanesque would soon be challenged by an entirely different
system which valued space and upward motion over heavy walls and
closeness to the earth. This challenge would come in the form of
the Gothic. These styles became evocative of two contrasting
social systems, each with its own identifiable values and mores
which were to come into direct conflict in the 12th and 13th
centuries. From this conflict in values much of the culture of
modern western society can be traced.
The Cistercians influence on the so.cial atmosphere of the
12th century cannot and must not be understated. In the early
middle ages the the spiritual and secular intellectual worlds
were not separated. The growth of the reformist movements such
as the Cistercians were powerful influences in the world and in
the church. Within the church, as within virtually all
hierarchies, there lurked a certain amount of corruption and

Intellectuals such as St. Bernard saw the elaborate exotic
fruit that Christianity in the 12th century and found it to be
far from the esoteric Judaic sect it had initially been. Indeed,
the development of Christianity in Europe had somehow blended
the remote and alien hebraic philosophy with pagan cyclical
rites and myths so deeply rooted in the psyches of the people
that they could scarcely be weeded out. For Bernard the ornate
and magical splendor of the churches with their rich decorations
was symptomatic of Christianity's disturbingly hybrid nature.
Under the influence of St. Bernard, the Cistercians began a
reformatipn movement of their own. Bernard points out in his
Appologia letter the powerful influence which the images had
over the minds of those who worshiped or lived amongst them.
Bernard was a charismatic brilliant speaker and a well read
theologian who longed to perceive a God beyond images and
metaphores, a deity who could exist beyond the plastic world of
metamorphosis which it had created. So fervently did he seek
this spirit without form and so persuasively did he express this
goal, that' Bernard, while certainly not the only catalyst of
change, was without a doubt one of the most significant forces
in the movement away from the physical, tactile, comprehensible
Romanesque to the intellectual, esoteric, otherworldly Gothic.

Bernard might be described as a pure intellectual, an
individual who "lived in his head". He strived to comprehend the
physical world within the confines of his mind, and his attempts
to understand a god without a form only exacerbated this
situation. By contrast, in the Romanesque style God/Man/Nature
are all understood as not separate but interconnected and
interdependent forces acting on one another in a magical,
miraculous way. God was not remote and distinct, God is
imminent, permeating all things all aspects of light in a very
physical tangible sense. Transformation was part of God's active
will, as tactile and direct as the magical metamorphosis shown
on the reliefs in the abbeys and churches.These forms were a
veil through which humans could understand deity.
But for Bernard the veil was a distraction which he wished
to remove. The physical expression of the deity's manifestation
was not a guide to understanding but a blockage, a limitation to
knowledge. Bernard longed to see the Christian God stripped of
the imposition of form and plastic images, he wanted to "see"
that which could not be perceived, which could not be "seen".
I believe because of his frustration at this very
paradoxical desire, Bernard lashed out at the physical world-the
realm of form, mass and volume. He began in the early 12th
century to develop a duality which continues to have a

significant impact on society even today, a conception of the
world in opposites-a focus on bipolar thinking-Flesh versus
Spirit, Mind versus Body, Earth versus Heaven. For Bernard the
tactile, sensual, sensible world was to be avoided, resisted,
overcome or rejected and the intangible, effervescent realm of
the mind/spirit was to be valued and sought.
These aspects had not previously been entertained as
separate, either in European culture or in Romanesque art: the
spirit and.the physical were seen as much the same. Here we
begin to see the psychic break between two ways of perceiving
the world the imminent and the transcendent. The image of God
as alive in the world, actively interacting with creation and
knowable by that creation is now contrasted with the Deity who
is apart from the physical world, who is somehow above, somehow
superior to form. This is a Deity unknowable in the tactile
sense, guessed after and hinted at at the edges of
consciousness, pursuable only in the mind. In this radical new
view of the world through bipolarization, the spirit of Western
European culture would be forever changed.
Bernard, in his personal quest to strip his deity of the
illusions of form, excited many of the great minds of his time
and persuaded them to join him in this endeavor to truly seek
God. Unfortunately it was a quest doomed to failure by its very
nature, for the human mind so perfectly programmed to know the
world through image and perception cannot easily or with total

satisfaction move away from this towards a knowledge of the
unknowable. Stripped of metaphorical image, the mind is
In focusing away from plastic physicality, Bernard fell into
a trap of trying to define something which by his own
conceptualization could not be defined. Bernard saw the physical
world as evil because it distracted the soul from the
contemplation of God, and as the opposite to the pure and
formless spiritual realm.
This psychosis remains at the center of modern western
European culture. Bernard's love of spirit unhappily fostered a
pathological hatred of the world which would manifest itself in
a contempt for nature and women.
Women were evocative of the world, and of plastic changeable
elements which Bernard found so very frustratingly distracting.
Women had the ability to give birth, to create life, to undergo
a kind of plastic metamorphosis and survive. Men could not
experience this process. Bernard, and many others before him
were frustrated by this, and perversely saw this as a sign that
males were to be considered superior to females. Males, being
unchanging in this concept, were seen as somehow closer to a
remote Deity who was viewed as eternal and unchanging (read
GOOD) while woman were closer to the plastic world of cycles and

change which obscured the face of God (read BAD).
God was, in Bernard's opinion, more desirable than the
world, which led to the notion that men were more spiritual than
women, hence in general better and superior to women. From this
logic came much of the male/female polarity which still haunts
our modern western culture.

Henri Focillon and Jean Bony in the Art of the West in the
Middle Ages, suggest that modern man has a more sympathetic
relationship with the Gothic than with either the art of the
Renaissance or that of the Classical. And this may well be true,
for the values and underlying themes in modern western society
have not changed very much. The bipolar dichotomy between mind
and body,; spirit and flesh, still exists.
Focillon and Bony show that modern man is closely bound to
the Medieval world is more sympathetic towards the Gothic in
particular. We are able to segregate our perceptions to see the
world in a bipolar duality of spirit/flesh, heaven/earth,
good/bad. While we as a culture are not so firmly in awe of a
singular belief system or particular deity as were our
ancestors, we are nevertheless intrigued by concepts of that
which is outside of our physical world-by that which to our
perception, is "other".
A vague sense of semiotics has replaced a concept of absolute
deity. Our modern culture is permeated by an orphaned
spirituality; we are cut off from both God and Nature. The
remnants of our Gothic heritage had rendered us this curious
paradox. We are still creations of the Middle Ages.

The movement away from the body, away from the plastic forms
and away from the natural world which is so profoundly felt in
the Romanesque. These changes did not happen overnight, but they
were to have a real influence on the cultural perceptions and
values regarding the individual, the body, the physical world
and the spiritual that can still be seen today.
Running throughout the Romanesque decorative style is the
theme of metamorphosis and transformation, that the individual
exists in a plastic malleable state. At the heart of all this is
the concept of all things, plants, humans, animals, angels or
stones being part of one another. In this world all things
mingle share and transform, changing shape, changing natures,
changing boundaries. Nothing keeps itself separate, remote or
distant from any other thing because the spirit of creation; the
presence of "God" permeates everything. That spirit, that force
was constantly active, constantly remaking, rebuilding,
recreating the world which was directly part of itself. God and
nature were not separate and could not be separated. God and
Nature were one.
It has been suggested that in Romanesque Art is a
degeneration, a falling away from the more realistic classical
style reflected in Greek and to a certain extent in Roman
art-that the figures in Romanesque art are simply sad

imitations of a lost grandeur. While it cannot be denied that
that many artisans in the 10th and 11th centuries may have
lacked the technical skill of their predecessors, we cannot and
should not belittle these works. Indeed the work can be seen as
more vital, expressive and fresh because of there lack of stale
rigid conformity. Nor should we fall into the trap of imagining
artisans vainly attempting (and pathetically failing) to recover
some remote rich past.
To those living in Europe in the 9th through the 13th
centuries, the glory of the Roman Empire was not something
distant. They were part of the Empire. They were the inheritors
of a real and vital tradition. Rome had, in their view, never
really fallen and they were an important part of its living
culture and its ongoing power and prestige. There was no need to
compare their work with work which had gone before because the
10th century European was more concerned with the present
And the influences of the so called Barbaric cultures the
Norse, the Moslems and the Huns had strengthened rather than
corrupted, this element of continuity. Their art had only added
fresh spice and richness to the whole. The geometric emphasis
and the love of pattern and plastic form meshed with the new
Romano-Christian notion of the manifestation of God in Creation
to create a new art form, one based on the power of

As Christianity spread throughout the Roman world and
gradually beyond, it was obliged to adapt to the societies and
cultures it came in contact with. The powerful theme of a God
intimately involved with the everyday lives of the common people
who would willingly suffer on their behalf and who would in fact
become one of them was very appealing.
This God was imminent in the world and could be seen and
understood throughout nature. Through the suffering of Christ,
God. and the physical world became one. Thus the powerful
spiritual presence of God permeated all things and all aspects
of life. And as various Barbaric influxes moved throughout
Europe, they also had a hand in influencing the images and
metaphors of the local faiths, both Pagan and Christian.
Powerful mythic images from various cultures came into direct
conflict with the newly planted Christian movement.
The theme of transformation by the grace of the Christian
God was well explored in the art of this era. Images of Christ
as the Redeemer of the world and Saviour of Mankind point to the
theme of transformation in Romanesque art as distinctively
Christian. Yet these are also highly charged Pagan concepts
redolent with myths of shapeshifting, magic and mystery. Forms,
images and perceptions are all malleable and unfixed, constantly
in a state of flux.

We must realize that in this period the notion of the
precise and exact compartmentalization of the God of the
Christians as separate from any particular Pagan gods did not
exist. Pagan deities were often simply considered to be aspects
of God, or they were merely reclassified and turned into local
In Romanesque. Art the physical is always the most
significant element. The events from the lives of the Saints
and Apostles are represented in an almost sensual manner. The
change from a sinful to a purer existence is expressed through a
highly tangible metamorphosis replete with both Christian and
Pagan iconography but there is no sign of any rejection of the
physical or of the body. God has made his will clear through
Nature therefore Nature is not impure.
Just as old beliefs were being transformed, the powerful
concept of a mythology of constant change of growth through a
kind of magical/miraculous metamorphosis began to permeate both
the art and the social movements of this time. Underling all of
these images is a distinct drive towards unity, the compulsion
to recognize the oneness of all experience and to melt the
boundaries between forms and between God and Man. The plastic,
tangible nature of God's grace which according to St. Paul
"makes all things new" was a significant theme underpinning much

of the psychic environment of Europe in this era. Christianity,
old Roman Paganism and the Heathen cultures of the Barbarians
had all met and been transformed into this new hybrid view of
the power of metamorphosis in a world transfixed with the
imminent presence of God.
What was the reason for the change, what happened to cause
such a radical shift from the magical imminent God and the
plastic tangible images of metamorphosis so prevalent in
Romanesque art towards the more transcendent otherworldly
polarized view of deity and man, of spirit and flesh which are
found in the Gothic? Political and economic changes and
spiritual movements all had something to do with this break.
The transition really began around the end of the 12th century
although we do hot see evidence of an overall cultural shift
until later in the 13th century. Of course, a psychic change as
significant and radical as this would not manifest itself
everywhere at the same time or to the same extent. One
suggestion that has been made regarding this change can be seen
in the growing power and influence of the merchant class.
The fact that wealth and power were moving away from the
feudal system, away from the focus on land, fertility and an
earthy concept of bounty towards a more removed intellectualized
concept of worth which was separate from physicality.

The notions of worth and value began to be associated with
the non essential produce of the developing metropolitan
oriented culture. With the growth of this new goods oriented
economy the need arose to rethink concepts of values, of worth
based on measurements other than that of the control of large
areas of land, and on the fecundity of that land. The value of
the produce of the merchant class was more esoteric, less openly
tangible, than the value implicit in the ability to grow enough
food to eat.
Purely tangible values were of uttermost importance in the
early Middle Ages. They represented the paramount virtues of
stability, orthodoxy and control. What could better physically
express these ideals, than the massive stone architecture of
this era.
Stone is the essential material of the great
period of the Middle Ages. Even hidden under polychrome
paint, the stone is felt as both structure and
decorative form. Romanesque sculpture... is in fact
entirely determined by, evokes and is held in check by
the which it supplies a necessary accent. But
Gothic sculpture based on arch, rib, and pier, tends to
dispense with walls (Focillon and Bony, The Art of the
West in the Middle Ages page 4).
In the art of the Romanesque we can see an overt closeness
to the earth, a heavy, almost maternal and womblike aspect that
we do not see in the Gothic. The walls not only protect from an
often chaotic world, they act to nurture and comfort. In the
Gothic style we have a marked ambiguity, the movement is upwards

away from the earth and the emphasis is on light and open space.
Forms are frozen in the Gothic style; distinctly represented
men and angels fight exactly outlined devils while a remote yet
precise Deity looks on.
By contrast, in the Romanesque decorative style there is no
rigid distinction between forms. The Romanesque emphasized the
values of natural fertility, of the fecundity of the harvest,
and the power of metamorphosis, of growth and change. The
interdependence of the people on the land and on one another fed
this concept and enhanced the notion of the validity of
permeatibility, of transformation, of the metamorphosis of form.
Running throughout most of Romanesque art was a primal land
oriented sensibility. The aesthetization of the values of
fertility, growth and brimming over abundance was paramount.
Carnival and other customary rituals were permeated by
the idioms of natural life cycles, seasonal
transformations and other familiar aspects of a self
sufficiently agrarian. Within the confines of...such a
society there was not yet an appreciation, or
understanding, of a wealth which could occupy no space
which was divorced from the natural rhythms of life
(Ewen,All Consuming Images: The Politics of Style in
Contemporary Culture, page 154).
If one compares the cathedrals built in the Romanesque
style with Gothic cathedrals we can see "the beginnings of a
transvaluation of values." (Ewen, page 162).
In studying them, we can notice that there are certain
architectural elements highly evocative of the Romanesque

Products of the monasteries... massive and weighty in
appearance, committed to a sense of abundant
materiality. Their stout barrel vaulted arches hugged
the ground, motionless as if asserting a permanent
claim to the land below. This was an expression of the
feudal conception of value (Ewen, page 163)
But with the Gothic cathedrals, we find a new ambivalence, a
movement towards a new set of values:
Values intrinsically more abstract and mobile, it is
significant that the Gothic... broke with" the
annunciation of massivness. Relative to the
Romanesque, argues Christian Norberg-Schultz, the
walls were thin-nearly diaphanous-shells of stone and
glass...The central compositional element of the
Romanesque style was stone...but the principle
component of the Gothic was light. The kinetic play of
radience the apparent wieghtlessness of structure
joined to suggest an emmerging ideal of mobile
immateriality (Ewen, page 163).
Even the theme of direct metamorphosis in Romanesque Art was
rooted in the culturally pervasive notion of earthly bounty such
as the celebration of...
carnival...the symbol of the overflowing body which
perpetually outgrows itself, transgressing its own
limits depicting the contours of popular aspiration
providing a utopian vision of a fecund Mother Earth,
ever giving birth, ever replenishing herself (Ewan,
page 177).
Within the Gothic, first and foremost we are caught up in
the powerful motion upward. The most remarkable aspect of Gothic
art and architecture is its grand graceful motion towards the
heavens. This "motion" can be seen in Chartes Cathedral in

The Gothic Cathedral is not only a new manifestation of
architectural form, spatial experiance and spiritual effect,
it is also syptomatic of major changes in ecclesiastic power
and socioeconomic conditions. It looms above the neighbouring
rooftops as the Romanesque church did above the village, but
it is the crown jewel of an urban environment rather than a
beacon in a rural landscape. The cathedral is a monument not
only to the power and organisational abilities of who saw
these immense buildings through various stages of their
construction but also to the economic support of prospering
craft and trade guilds and the growing bourgeois population.
(Calkins.Monuments to Medieval Art, pages 135-136)
This was made physically possible, of course, by the
developments of the flying buttress. Yet this architectural
advance was known in the 10th century, so it alone cannot be
held responsible for development of the Gothic. Even more
than this architectural technological advance, we can find a
markedly different attitude towards God and man, between matter
and spirit in Gothic art than in the Romanesque. The power of
the upward sweep, the emphasis on light and space the frail
almost skeletal structure of the architecture, all represent
values at contrast with the low rounded forms, the nurturing
closeness and the earthy womblike power of the Romanesque.
The power of the Romanesque lies most decisively in its
massive weighty and ponderous volume, while the emphasis in the
Gothic is just the opposite, in its open airiness and fragile
shell-like architectural structure. The Gothic, in emphasising
the very opposite in physical values to those espoused by the
Romanesque, represents a significant ideological shift within
the church. And the church was to influence secular society with

these changing paradigms. In the Gothic the primary focus is on
the thrust upward to the lofty airy spaces filled with dazzling
colored light. This emphasis is carefully calculated to draw
attention away from the individual through the use of the
proportional relation of individual to structure. The decorative
sculpture within the Romanesque seem to crawl, leap, fly, and
swim haphazardly all over the walls of the church, rendering
them positively pulsing with palpable animation, as we see in
the. examples of the facade of Notre Dame la Grande at Poitier
and in the trumeau (supporting pillar) at Souillac. But the
Gothic approach is noticably more restained. While the
Romanesque was vividly, physically tied to the tangible world,
the Gothic celebrated a turning away and a new focus on the non
Sculpture in the Gothic is exquisite in its rich detail and
refinement, yet it lacks the wild crude vitality of the
Romanesque. The figures in the Gothic are elegant yet
spiritually idealized. They represent the ideal of the focus on
the otherworldly, non physical spirituality that same
spirituality that Bernard so loved and struggled so long for.
The sculpted figures do not freely gambol over walls, up pillers
and across arches, they remain sedate -if a little stiff- in
their niches, facades, and decorative portals. Just as these
figures are segregated, the body is to be segregated from
spiritual pursuits. The wonderous sculptural developements in

the 13th and 14th centuries cannot be ignored, yet in their
perfect attenuated symetry there is a certain distance, a
certain remoteness from the moment. The Romanesque always
reveled in the strange dream-like immediacy but the Gothic
strove for a separation from timelessness just as it strove for
a separation from the body.
In the Gothic boundaries are established and patterns are
worked out. Degrees of separation manifest in the Gothic, while
in the Romanesque the power of metamorphosis made all
differences seem illusory. The Gothic categorized and identified
the physical and by doing this, attempted to separate and hold
the material world at a distance, to see the physical world as
alien and other".
The lace-fine delicacy of the Gothic architectural structure
bespeaks a physical paradox. How can stone be made to seem so
weightless and effervescent, so utterly non- physical? The
answer is, of course, that this impression is illusory. The
fragile cobwebs are in fact blocks of heavy dense stone. They
are quite tangible and weighty, yet they seem as insubstantial
as down. The paradox of the Gothic lies in the paradox of
duality. If spirit is separate from flesh then stones can be as
delicate as a feather and light can become a tangible
architectural force. The Romanesque celebrates all things as
equally strange and holy. The Gothic deliniated forms and

established hieraches of worth and value. While the Romanesque
indescriminately embraced the terrible and sublime as a whole,
the Gothic froze it into forms of rigid perfection and segmented
it into fragile crystaline, easily catigorizable parts.
Two radically different value systems were colliding as were
the very different political and economic systems of the day.
The growing power of the towns and the merchant class that drove
them were comming into opposition with the powerful
establishment of the agriculturally landed gentry.
Wealth and prestige measured in acreage versus the more
esoteric values of trade merchandise and nonessential goods.
Just as Bernard encouraged a refocusing of significance away
from the tangible to the intangible, the merchant class
represented the movement from the physical power of the landed
knight towards the more intangible forces of economics. These
forces were just as real but initially more difficult to
As the power of the merchants developed and the strength of
cities began to wax, the emphasis on the creation of cultural
values was moved from the rural bucolic focus on cycles of
fertility and bounty to the more esoteric interests of the city
dweller. By investing the power to dictate values and cultural
norms, in those partially or completely removed from the demands
of this world we see the movement away from the tactile and the
drive towards the otherworldly.

The schism between flesh and spirit, the drives of the physical
and non physical began at this point. The pathological roots of
our present culture can be traced back to this break.

We have considered the movement inspired by such thinkers as
St. Bernard and later Abbot Sugar, which led away from the
earth-oriented, cyclical Romanesque towards the otherworldly,
dualistic Gothic. We have seen the differences between the
Gothic and the Romanesque, not only in the iconographic and
stylistic changes but also in the more significant underlying
psychic values that each movement represented. If we indeed
accept the premiss that our current culture has much in common
with the Middle Ages, we may still wonder what significance this
discourse on art and architecture might have for us in the late.
20th century.
I believe that it has a great deal to teach us about our
relationships to the earth, to culture, and to one another.
The Gothic represented the dualistic principal, the movement
away from the physical towards the entirely otherworldly and
spiritual. The developement of this bipolar dualism did not end
with Gothic architecture. It continues to permeate our culture
to such an overwhelming extent that it can sometimes be
difficult to separate ourselves sufficiently so that we might
see it.
But it is there, in the vague contempt for the gross
voluptuous physicality of the earth and the subtle value

placed on the intellectual concepts and articulated notions of
the otherworldly.
Our culture celebrates the lessening of form and shape, and
values the pared down and the streamlined. In our concepts of
beauty and worth regarding the female body the emphasis is on
the reduction of mass, which implies the devaluation of female
sensuality and the rejection of nature and natural forms. The
rich, material, tactile qualities previously associated with
being an adult woman is overridden by the drive to free the self
from the ponderous restraints of flesh.
The ascendancy of abstract an independant
disembodied conception of worth. In the realm of the
human body {especially the female body) the search for
immateriality can yield pathelogical results. The very
existence of body flesh comes to symbolize a barrier to
perfection and satisfaction (Ewen, 180).
The social drive to be thin, the compulsion to be
"without a body" (page 181), is endemic of a society that...
Claims to live beyond the consequences of nature that
reflects the pure logic of abstract value-economy of
thin air-transported and implanted within the inner
realm of the human subject...The ideal body is one
that no longer materially exists... reduced to an
abstract... skinned from its biological imperatives
(Ewan, 183).
Our culture strives to remake, suppress, or blot out all
aspects of the natural world that it cannot control. Our
emphasis is constantly moving towards an otherworldly

spiritual or intelectual non physicality which we do not
fully understand. We no longer see ourselves as part of
the earth but somehow removed and superior to it. It is
this sad psychosis that especially plagues us in the
20th century. The sense of duality that has rendered
everything in black and white has cut us off from
ourselves and puts us at odds with our environment.
We are trapped by our own rigidity and inability to change.
We are chained by our fear of metamorphosis. This is the harvest
we have gleened from the seeds of the Gothic.
In the Romanesque we have the celebration of metamorphosis,
and the understanding of the cycles of the earth. The power of
the the rich and fertile earth is expressed in the highly
tactile material form, and the nurturing roundness of structure
and decorative style.
We are in the late 20th century, in a period of great
transition. Many of our cultural assumptions from the beginning
of this century about the nature of our world have failed us,
leaving us bereft and adrift. New ideals must be integrated for
our continued survival and happiness as we enter the next
century. At the heart of this transition the social and
spiritual values of the Middle Ages will become more and more
significant to our understanding of culture and thought.
But, as with the study of any historical period, our own

environment is bound to bias us. We look on the Middle ages from
a twentieth century perspective and our interpretations of that
are bound to be at odds with the views from the 17th 18th and
19th centuries. Perspective always affects ones view.
I believe that our culture owes a great deal to the Middle
Ages... perhaps more than we may realize. We are in fact very
much children of the Medieval world. Romantic love, Chivalry,
the concept of religiously justifiable war, and the spiritual
intellectual explorations of both the great and small are all
concepts directly traceble back to this era, as are the Catholic
Church, the establishment of trial by jury, the creation of the
Liberal Arts and the University system.
Like the medieval world, ours is one of sudden violence,
mystery, wonder and terror. Our "faith" and our miracles are
more from science than from any actual religion, yet the masses
are held in awe of forces they do not understand. We are as
reverential of our form of "magic" in the 20th century, as the
people in the 11th century would have been in the celebratation
of a good harvest or of a Mystery play.
Much of the medieval world might be seen as a kind of
shadow to our culture. It is the other", the shadow, the
doppleganger and secret sharer of all our deepest fears and
longings. From this perspective we see that our culture and

the culture of the Middle Ages are distubingly similar,
provoking us to question values and to reexamine old patterns.
We are inevitably the creation of all that came before. But
we show the marks of our medieval heritage more than any other
influence. Our current state of development is far more
attributable to the Gothic rather than the Classical or to the
Age of Reason, with its duality of perception and its fixation
on vague otherworldly goals.
I am not trying to suggest that simply through the study of
art and architecture or by implimenting a new architecture
alone can we achieve a state of greater balance with the earth
and within ourselves. The tendency to look for simple answers to
complex questions is another inheritance of patterns of bipolar
dualistic thinking, a tendency which we must strive against.
However I believe that a fundamental restructuring of our
general cultural outlook is essential if we wish to survive into
the future, and I feel certain that we can discover the keys for
a new set of values in a reexamination of the Romanesque.
I would suggest that we have come to the end of what we can
learn from this world view, and I believe that the Gothic and
all of the duality and otherworldly conceptions that this system
has encouraged, is now bankrupt as a source of inspiration. It
has nothing more of value to teach us.

In keeping with our relationship with the medieval, I
strongly believe that we must look to the values of the
Romanesque for a new foundation on which to base our
The life affirming nature of this period with its
understanding of seasonal cycles, its nurturing yet dreamlike
architecture, its closeness both in form and spirit to the earth
and most of all it's celebration of metamorphosis. The power
which is derived from many separate images, each potent and
destict yet each nevertheless capable of melting and blending
into a great complex whole, while still celebrating the
individual particular nature, is the theme which runs throughout
Romanesque art. This theme of the individual existing in harmony
with the greater whole, has much to teach us today.
Our world, like that of the 10th-12th centuries, is in a
state of radical transition. We exist in a time of great change
and social upheaval. Political and social systems collapse
suddenly without warning, and we are forced to reconsider all
our precopcieved notions.
The early medieval world experienced profound challenges to
their core value systems from within and without. It concretized
the sometimes chaotic metamorphosis of differing belief systems
and societies and the transition from one way of life to another
into strange, terrible and wonderful images.

Constant growth and renewal within the boundaries of this
tactile world rather than a drive to remove ourselves and be at
odds with the physical, surely this is the choice we must make.
In a world in imminent danger of destruction due to our
irresponsibility and pathological social behavior, we must, if
we wish to survive, make an effort to turn from the values of
the Gothic towards those of a more balanced, nature-honoring
system. We need to reconsider our most basic values and
assumptions, and reconsider our place in the complex network of
life on the planet. We must learn to listen to the rythmns of
the earth rather than either attempting to crush or ignore them
For if we will not listen, we are in danger of being crushed
ourselves. If we are wise we will learn the powerful lessons of
metamorphosis and transformation as expressed in the Romanesque

Page 4 Focillon & Bony, The Art of the West in the Middle
Ages, pages 104-105
Chapter 2
Page 8 Ibid page 6
Page 14 Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages, pages 23
Page 15 Henderson, Early Medieval Style and Civilization .
page 95
Chapter 3
Page 27 Focillon & Bony, The Art of the West in the Middle
Ages. page 4
Page 28 Ewen, All Consuming Images-The Politics of Style in
Contemporary Culture page 154
Page 28 Ibid page 163
Page 29 Ibid page 162
Page 29 Ibid page 163
Page 29 Ibid page 177
Page 30 Calkins, Monuments of Medieval Art, page 135-136
Page 35 Ewen, All Consuming Images-The Politics of Style in
Contemporary Culture, page 180
Page 35 Ibid page 183

Atroshenko, V.I. and Judith Collins, The Origins of the
Romanesque.London: Lund Humpheys Publishers Ltd, 1985.
A fascinating study of the earliest aspects of Romanesque
architecture. The authors focus on the early Eastern
European and especially Armenian influences on this art
form is fresh and highly thought provoking.
Baker, Derek Ed..Studies in Church History The Ecclesiastical
History Society, Sawston.Cambridge: Cramton & Son Ltd,
1978. A fine, if unevenly written, collection of essays on
the various religious movements in the Middle Ages. I found
this work to be of great use in my research if at times
difficult and rather ponderously dry to read. I could only
recommend this work to those advanced students of Church
history blessed with great patience.
Barber, Richard. The Knight & Chivalry. New York: Charles
Scribners Sons, 1970. A fine general study of the world of
the Medieval Knight. It succeeds in avoiding overt
romanticism in its presentation and is written in a simple
clear style, which i found refreshing. I would recommend it
as a good source for the student not terribly familiar with
the medieval concept of Knighthood.
Bloch, R. Howard. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of
Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
A highly insightful study of social oppression and misogyny
in the early teachings of Church Fathers. It explores the
pattern of philosophic study that created the elements of
duality and otherworldlyness in Christianity which St.
Bernard espoused. While more of a study of the literary
medieval genre, this work raises many relevant points
regarding the social structure of Europe in the Middle
Brooke, Christopher. The Twelfth____________Century Renaissance
New York: Harcourtj Brace & World Inc, 1970. A depressingly
juvenile work which touches on a variety of cultural events
with little real understanding or depth of any of them. I
had high hopes when I initially examined this book, but I
was sadly disappointed. I cannot recommend this work for
any but the most inexperienced, juvenile student.
Calkins, Robert G. Monuments of Medieval Art New York: E.P.

Dutton Publishers, 1979. A fine book on the basic movements
in Medieval Art. This work was well illustrated and written
in a clear concise style. I found it to be of great
academic use as well as a pleasure to read.
Cantor,Norman F. Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives. Works
and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth
Century. New York: William Morrow and Company Inc.,
1991. A delightful and thought provoking work on history
historiography and the great medievalists of the 20th
century. Reading this work gave me a deeper understanding
of not only the Middle Ages but also of the present time. It
vividly points out that what we know of the Middle Ages is
entirely colored by our own era.
Carroll, Berenice, Ed., Liberating Women's History-Theoretical
and Critical Essays.Chicago: University of Illinois
Press, 1976. A collection of essays on social history, this
work possessed a handful of fine studies on the situation
of Medieval women. However I would not recommend this work
due to the uneven quality of the various essays and due to
its emphasis on subjects other than the Middle Ages.
Ewen, Stuart, All Consuming Images-The Politics of Style in
Contemporary Culture. New York: Basic Books Inc.
Publishers, 1988. I must recommend this work most highly to
anyone interested in studying the creation and development
of social values and cultural forces. I found the
explanation of the concept of value" as a variable in any
society and that variables transmutations throughout
history to be very enlightening.
Focillon, Henri & Jean Bony Ed., The Art of the West in the
Middle Ages.New York: Phaidon Publishers Inc., 1963. A
wonderful study of the Romanesque style, Focillon's
brilliant interpretation of the decorative symbolism of
this period was the initial inspiration for ray thesis. I
found this work to be thoroughly well written and
absolutely lucid and I would recommend it most highly.

Haren, Michael.Medieval Thought. New York: St. Martin's Press,
New York N.Y. 1985. This work, a study of the various
philosophic strains that ran throughout the Middle Ages was
of some assistance. Its focus was mostly on the late
Medieval period, and although it is well written it was of
limited use to me in my studies.
Harsen, Sibylla.Women in the Middle Ages. Chicago: Prentis
Hall Pub. Chicago, II. 1975. A profound study of the roles
of women in the Middle Ages, this work provokes the reader
to rethink his concept of social history in general. While
it was of limited use to my research I must state that
reading it challenged me to seriously reconsider many
notions which I had previously taken for granted. I
strongly recommend it.
Henderson, George. Early Medieval Style and Civilization.
Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1972. A fine study of the
art and culture of the Early Middle Ages from the 7th to
the 12th centuries, this work was of great use due to its
examination of various philosophic and social movements in
this era. I found it well written and I would gladly
recommend it.
Hollander, Hans. Early Medieval Art. New York: Universe Books,
1974. This works focus was more on the development of the
purely visual arts such as painting and murals, and had
less emphasis on the development of Architecture and its
influence on the decorative arts. However what it did
possess was well written and it was richly illustrated.
Kelly, Douglas. Medieval Imagination, Rhetoric and Poetry
Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1978. A
collection of interesting essays on the Medieval concept of
the Imagination. I found it intellectually challenging, but
most of the academic emphasis is focused on the late Middle
Ages and the Cult of Courtly Love. I found the concepts
explored in the introduction of that work to be of some
use, however most of the work was of little interest to my
Lee, Gordon. The Dissolution of the Medieval Outlook. New
York: University Press, New York N.Y. 1976. An interesting
study of academic and philosophic changes in the Middle
Ages, with the emphasis on the later Gothic era. I found it
useful for an understanding of the Gothic mind set and for

the parallels it draws between the Medieval period and our
Marks, Claude. Pilgrims Heretics and Lovers: A Medieval
Journey New York: MacMillan Publishing Co, 1975. An
intriguing if somewhat juvenile study of Medieval culture,
it is well written in a light easily read style which
renders complex events and theories easier to grasp. I
would recommend it only to those completely unfamiliar
with the Middle Ages.
Nebolsine, George.Journey into Romanesque New York: G. P.
Putnam's Sons 200 Madison Avenue, New York N.Y. 1969. This
very well written and beautifully illustrated work was of
great use in researching and documenting my studies. It was
particularly useful in examining the Barbaric1' influences
on the Romanesque iconography.I would highly recommend this
work to anyone interested in a general exploration of
Romanesque Art.
Peters, Edward. The Magician, the Witch and the Law.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987. A
wonderful work exploring the social value of those
considered in Medieval culture to be beyond the pale. In
examining the role of the outsider and his/her relationship
to the overall society, Peters inspires a new consideration
of the concept of Metamorphosis.
Rosenthal, Joel T. Ed., Medieval Women and the Sources of
Medieval History. New York: The University of Georgia
Press. Athens, Georgia 1990. Another fine collection of
essays on history and historiography I found this work to
be an interesting exploration of a number of theories
regarding the Middle Ages. Because of the range of topics
covered in this work, I found only some to be of use to my
studies, yet all were intriguing and well written. I would
recommend it to the more advanced student of the Middle
Sahar, Shulamite.The Fourth Estate-A History of Women in the
Middle Ages: New York: Methuen & Company Inc. 733 Third
Avenue New York, N.Y. 1983. A fine work examining the
position of women in the social systems of the Middle Ages,
this book is very well organized and well written. It
examines the relationship of women and the Church in both
the Romanesque and Gothic eras and I found it useful and
refreshing to read.

Souchal, Francois. Art of the Early Middle Ages.New YorK:
Harry N. Abrams Inc. Publishers,1968. This study is well
thought out. Although I found that I disagreed with certain
issues and notions presented in this work I found it very
well written and its views well argued. I feel it might
have been improved by more illustrations.
Timmers, J.J.M. A Handbook of Romanesque Art. London: Thomas
Nelson and Sons Ltd,1969. A fine introductory work,
profusely illustrated and well written. It explored not
only the art and architecture sculpture and paintings of
this period it also examines examples of illuminated
manuscripts, tapestries and embroidery work. I was
impressed by the clear writing style and the depth of
knowledge expressed in this work.
Zuber, Christiane Klapisch, Georges Duby & Michelle Perrot
Eds., A History of Women in the West II Silences of the
Middle Ages. London: The Belkamp Press Harvard University
Press, Cambridge Mass. London England 1992. A delightful
collection of essays on Medieval social history and culture
this work well outlined the social and cultural environment
of the early middle ages. I found its focus on women's
cultural experience to be useful in that it presented an
analysis of history from an unusual perspective. All the
essays were of a consistently high quality and I would
highly recommend this work for anyone interested in a more
complete study of Medieval history.