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The Body That Is Not One: Overclothing as Bodily Transformation in Topographia Hibernica

The Body That Is Not One: Overclothing as Bodily Transformation in Topographia Hibernica Chapter 7 The Body That Is Not One: Overclothing as Bodily Transformation in Topographia Hibernica Andrea Whitacre Indiana University In Topographia Hibernica, Gerald of Wales narrates one of the most striking werewolf depictions in the medieval canon, one that has been interpreted in schol- arship of the past two decades as an example of the rejection of belief in bodily change in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A priest traveling from Ulster to Meath encounters a talking wolf. The wolf explains that he and his mate were hu- man beings who were cursed by a saint to live as wolves for seven years. The priest fears the speaking wolf, which seems to present a specter of body-hopping or metempsychosis, the human soul displaced within an animal body. The werewolf asks the priest to give the last rites to the dying female werewolf, but at the moment of administering the eucharist, the priest hesitates. To answer his doubts, the male werewolf peels back his partner’s skin, rolling it down from her head to her waist and revealing the body of an elderly human woman underneath. This revelation of the real body under the false skin seems to reclassify this tale http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Essays in Medieval Studies West Virginia University Press

The Body That Is Not One: Overclothing as Bodily Transformation in Topographia Hibernica

Essays in Medieval Studies , Volume 34 – Jun 5, 2019

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Illinois Medieval Association.
ISSN
1538-4608

Abstract

Chapter 7 The Body That Is Not One: Overclothing as Bodily Transformation in Topographia Hibernica Andrea Whitacre Indiana University In Topographia Hibernica, Gerald of Wales narrates one of the most striking werewolf depictions in the medieval canon, one that has been interpreted in schol- arship of the past two decades as an example of the rejection of belief in bodily change in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A priest traveling from Ulster to Meath encounters a talking wolf. The wolf explains that he and his mate were hu- man beings who were cursed by a saint to live as wolves for seven years. The priest fears the speaking wolf, which seems to present a specter of body-hopping or metempsychosis, the human soul displaced within an animal body. The werewolf asks the priest to give the last rites to the dying female werewolf, but at the moment of administering the eucharist, the priest hesitates. To answer his doubts, the male werewolf peels back his partner’s skin, rolling it down from her head to her waist and revealing the body of an elderly human woman underneath. This revelation of the real body under the false skin seems to reclassify this tale

Journal

Essays in Medieval StudiesWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jun 5, 2019

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