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On Light

The essays assembled in this new volume explore the fascination of the Middle Ages with the mystery of light, and its central role in the period's thought and creativity. Spanning medieval theology, literature, science and material culture, the topics covered include the history of light (and, inseparably, darkness) as a literary figure, from the Latin Bible to Geoffrey Chaucer; theoretical speculations on colour, sight and blindness, and their unexpected fertilization of fields such as poetic imagery; medieval preachers' evocations of light as much more than merely figuring the moral and religious, from St. Simeon in the ninth century to John Fisher in the early sixteenth; indeed the belief that light possessed not only reality but physical materality, as manifested in artefacts such as the Gloucester Candlestick. On Light thereby reveals not only the importance of this phenomenon to diverse aspects of medieval culture, but profound and unremarked ways in which it helped to bind these into a whole.

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