Chapter 3: Hortus Deliciarum/Garden of Delights: A Somatic Interpretation

in From Ego to Eco
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Hortus Deliciarum is one of the great illuminated manuscripts of the 12th century. Replete with nature images and metaphors, it is an example of the literature referred to by ecocritical theorists when proposing that the roots of the contemporary ecological crisis were planted in the medieval appropriation of the natural world for its own theological ends. This essay proposes an alternative interpretation, based on the somatic experience of a singer; particularly, the fluid experience of time and space created by the act of singing. It argues that medieval texts such as Hortus Deliciarum propose not a duality of natural and supernatural space, or of celestial and earthly time, but rather a fluidity of conflation and slippage between these realms.

From Ego to Eco

Mapping Shifts from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism

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