Against Beauty, Good and Love? Negative Forms of Conceptualization of Female Old Age in Medieval and Early Modern Era Cover Image
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Przeciw pięknu, dobru i miłości? Negatywne formy konceptualizacji kobiecej starości w średniowieczu i epoce nowożytnej
Against Beauty, Good and Love? Negative Forms of Conceptualization of Female Old Age in Medieval and Early Modern Era

Author(s): Sebastian Borowicz
Subject(s): Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: old hag; madness; ugliness; upside down; bawd
Summary/Abstract: In the high and late Middle Ages, image of an old woman was used as a medium and carrier of a dominant ideology in scientific (medicine), theological (sermons) and cultural (literature, arts) discourse. Medieval and early modern vetula was not just a person. She was also a programmed rhetorical figure, a structure of the “politics of morality” clothed in a body. As a deceitful and deceptive “cursed old woman” (maledicta vetula), who shows stupidity understood mainly as impiety, a kind of madness, she became an improper image, a perverse one, an antithesis of a physical and inner beauty. It is anus ebria et delirans, anti-Beatrix – the one, who has the power to turn existing norms and behaviours upside-down.

  • Page Range: 49-65
  • Page Count: 17
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Russian, Polish, Ukrainian