Depictions of physical order: diagrams in late Medieval English medical manuscripts

Öberg Strådal, Sara (2015) Depictions of physical order: diagrams in late Medieval English medical manuscripts. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


Diagrams and schemas included in medieval medical manuscripts are understudied within art historical scholarship. This thesis discusses the multivalence of meanings — medical, social and theological — generated within schemas included in sixteen different medical codices, produced in England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Through text-image analysis, by considering the diagrams in relationship to the texts that immediately surround them and the other texts included within the same codex, the following chapters show that diagrams, through different means, emphasised or legitimized the surrounding texts and medical practices. Additional analysis is interpictorial: the visual motifs are considered in relationship to similar and related pictorial subjects, familiar from other manuscripts and artistic contexts. Through consideration of the intervisual references to devotional art and other scientific schemas, the multiple meanings of the medical diagrams are further elucidated. Another feature of the codices that is studied is their status as physical objects, how they were held, used, leafed through and transported. Lastly, by situating the codices and their diagrams within a late medieval English social, ideological and religious milieu, a deeper understanding of their function is achieved. This thesis shows that rather than being simple tools used in medical practice or representations of medical theories, diagrams included in medical manuscripts functioned in multiple, prescriptive and descriptive, ways to define theological, civic and gendered ideas around social order.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available.
Keywords: diagrams, medieval, gender, England, Middle Ages, medical manuscripts, surgery, medicine, humors, zodiac, astrology, phlebotomy, illuminated manuscripts
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Strickland, Dr. Debra and Wieber, Dr. Sabine
Date of Award: 18 June 2015
Depositing User: Ms Sara M Öberg Strådal
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6484
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2015 09:19
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2018 09:21

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