Issue Four: Active Objects


The essays in this issue are drawn from two sessions on “Active Objects” sponsored by the Material Collective at the 2012 International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo: “Optics and Transparency” and “Agency and Phenomenology.” The papers all consider ways in which medieval objects had agency; that is, how they acted upon viewers and shaped response.


Of Liturgical Straws and Spiritual Breadboxes

Anne F. Harris • DePauw University Download PDF   A review of Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality; an essay on religion in late medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011) and Mary Carruthers, The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford...


Karen Eileen Overbey & Benjamin C. Tilghman. Active Objects: An IntroductionPDFWeb

Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Copper-alloy Substrates in Precious Metal Treasury Objects: Concealed and Yet ExcessivePDFWeb

Benjamin C. Tilghman, Lawrence University. On the Enigmatic Nature of Things in Anglo-Saxon ArtPDFWeb

Genevra Kornbluth, Independent Scholar. Active Optics: Carolingian Rock Crystal on Medieval ReliquariesPDFWeb

Alexa Sand, Utah State University. Materia Meditandi: Haptic Perception and Some Parisian Ivories of the Virgin and Child, ca. 1300PDFWeb

Beatrice Kitzinger, Stanford University. The Instrumental Cross and the Use of the Gospel Book Troyes, Bibliothèque Municipale MS 960PDFWeb

Anne F. Harris, DePauw University. Of Liturgical Straws and Spiritual Breadboxes: a review of Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011) and Mary Carruthers, The Experience of Beauty in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)PDFWeb