Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Incest and the Medieval Imagination - Oxford Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Incest and the Medieval Imagination

Elizabeth Archibald


Incest is a frequent motif in medieval literature. It was more broadly defined in the Middle Ages than today; definitions in lawcodes varied from century to century, but at its broadest incest meant sexual relations with any relative, however distant, including in-laws (consanguinity and affinity), and also with ‘spiritual relatives’ such as godparents, godchildren, and priests. The aim of this book is to provide an overview of the ways in which the incest motif was used during the Middle Ages, and especially from the 12th to the 15th centuries, when imaginative literature in vernacular langua ... More

Keywords: consanguinity, foundlings, recognition scenes, romances, saints' lives, lawcodes, confession, penance, classical culture, Virgin Mary

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780198112099
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112099.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Elizabeth Archibald, author
University of Bristol
Author Webpage