The PhD thesis underlying this monograph discusses how bodies in medieval literature partake and perform in mediality discourses. In particular, it examined by which narrative technique bodies are staged as transmitters of meaning in medieval texts. Two of the thematically grouped analytical chapters focus on physical appearance (beauty and ugliness) and the expectations appearances create with regard to a character’s role in the narrative. The third chapter considers inscribed skin (scars, wounds and writing on the skin of saints) while the fourth examines the depiction and significance of natural bodily matters such as defecation, urination and menstruation.
The thesis employs the methodology of close, contextualised readings on both early Irish and Old Norse-Icelandic texts to examine the development of bodies in individual texts in relation to media theories. Such an approach is completely new to this material and the project demonstrates the possibility of developing new approaches by synthesizing existing theoretical frame-works such as mediality theories and body criticism in a critical application.