Heads Will Roll
The decapitation motif recurs in nearly all medieval and early modern genres, from saints' lives and epics to comedies and romances, yet decollation is often little regarded, save as a marker of humanity (that is, as the moment mortality exits) or inhumanity (that is, as the moment the supernatural enters). However, as a seat of reason, wisdom, and even the soul, the head has long been afforded a special place in the body politic, even when separated from its body proper. Capitalizing upon the enduring fascination with decapitation in European culture, this collection examines--through a variety of critical lenses--the recurring "roles/rolls" of severed human heads in the medieval and early modern imagination.
Contributors are Nicola Masciandaro, Mark Faulkner, Jay Paul Gates, Christine Cooper-Rompato, Dwayne Coleman, Mary Leech, Tina Boyer, Renée Ward, Andrew Fleck, Thomas Herron, Thea Cervone, and Asa Simon Mittman. Preface by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen.