Cannibalism in High Medieval English Literature

From Beowulf through the literature of the crusades and beyond, cannibals haunt the texts of medieval England. Cannibal Narratives attempts to explain their presence. It explores the relationship between the literary trope of cannibalism and the emergence of national identity in medieval England. If England suffered three centuries of invasion – beginning with the Vikings and continuing through Danish and Norman conquests of the island – it also developed a unique and uniquely literary response to these circumstances. This book reads the representations cannibalism so common in English medieval literature through cannibalism’s metaphoric associations with incorporation, consumption, and violent disruption of the boundaries between self and other. The result uncovers the ways in which these representations articulate a discourse of cannibalism as a privileged mode for thinking about English cultural, and ultimately national, identity in the face of the social crisis.  (From Palgrave Macmillan)

Citation Information

  • Full Title: Cannibalism in High Medieval English Literature
  • Series: The New Middle Ages
  • City of Publication: New York
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Publisher Website: Link