Debating with Demons: Pedagogy and Materiality in Early English Literature [Hardback]

Christina M. Heckman(Author); Christina Christina Heckman(Author)

ISBN: 9781843845652 | Published by: D.S. Brewer | Series: Anglo-Saxon Studies | Volume: 41 | Year of Publication: 2020 | 260p, H9.25 x W6.25,
Status: In Stock - Available

Debating with Demons


In early English literature ca 700-1000 C.E., demons are represented as teachers who use methods of persuasion and argumentation to influence their "pupils". By deploying these methods, related to the liberal arts of rhetoric anddialectic, demons become masters of verbal manipulation. Their pupils are frequently women or Jews, seemingly marginal figures but who often oppose the authority of demonic pedagogues and challenge their deceptive lessons. In poetic accounts of the Fall of the Angels, the Fall of Adam and Eve, and the lives of the saints, those who debate with demons redefine the significance of narrative, authority, and resistance in early medieval pedagogy.
This book argues that these encounters between demonic teachers and their pupils are both epistemological, altering the pupils' knowledge, and ontological, affecting their state of being. As the pupils "learn", the physical locations theyoccupy align with rhetorical and dialectical topoi, or conceptual spaces in the mind, as minds, souls, bodies, and places are integrated into cohesive lived experience. The volume thus explores early medieval pedagogy as a spirituo-material practice, both embodied and emplaced, with the potential to alter the onto-epistemological dynamics of the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Devil's Secret Chamber
Spirituo-Materiality in the Early Middle Ages
The Artes Liberales in the Early Middle Ages
The Devil Within: Perils of Pedagogy in the Monastic School
The Origin of the Teaching Demon: Lucifer as Magister
Demonic Teaching and the Fall in the Old English Genesis
Demonic Teaching and Saintly Discretio in Cynewulf's Juliana
Inventing Materia: The True Cross and Saintly Disputation in Cynewulf's Elene
Conclusion: The Mysteries of Pedagogy

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