Mental (Dis)Order in Later Medieval Europe


The boundaries between mental, social and physical order and various states of disorder – unexpected mood swings, fury, melancholy, stress, insomnia, and demonic influence – form the core of this compilation. For medieval men and women, religious rituals, magic, herbs, dietary requirements as well as to scholastic medicine were a way to cope with the vagaries of mental wellbeing; the focus of the articles is on the interaction and osmosis between lay and elite cultures as well as medical, theological and political theories and practical experiences of daily life. Time span of the volume is the later Middle Ages, c. 1300-1500. Geographically it covers Western Europe and the comparison between Mediterranean world and Northern Europe is an important constituent. Contributors are Jussi Hanska, Gerhard Jaritz, Timo Joutsivuo, Kirsi Kanerva, Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Marko Lamberg, Iona McCleery, Susanna Niiranen, Sophie Oosterwijk, and Catherine Rider.
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Biographical Note

Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Ph.D. (2006) is Research Fellow at the University of Tampere. She has published monographs and articles on medieval lived religion, gender and family, including Gender, Miracles and Daily Life. The Evidence of Fourteenth-Century Canonization Processes (Brepols, 2009). Susanna Niiranen, Ph.D. (2009) is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. She has edited several books including a wide-ranging interdisciplinary handbook of medieval studies. She has published articles on various subjects of medieval culture, such as troubadours and trobairitz, healing, and multilingualism.

Review Quote

"This is an important addition to recent literature on the history of mental health, health and diet regimen, public health and disabilities in the Middle Ages. It is readable and interesting, and it would make a good addition to a course on medieval health or medieval disabilities. An advanced undergraduate would find this interesting, as would the scholar." Wendy Turner, Social History of Medicine, Vol. 28, No. 2, DOI:10.1093/shm/hkv013, Accessed on: 2 May, 2015 "This wide-ranging collection of articles, edited by Sari Katajala-Peltomaa and Susanna Niiranen, will constitute a welcome addition to the bookshelves of medievalists dealing with themes of mental health and illness, or with the history of the emotions in the later medieval period... the volume succeeds both in bringing diverse scholarly approaches into a rewarding dialogue with one another and in presenting a pleasurable book to read...I enjoyed all parts of the volume and found it to be a valuable resource which I can whole-heartedly recommend. The essays enrich one another admirably when read together." Nancy Mandeville Caciola, English Historical Review cxxxii. 556 (June 2017)

Table of contents

Abbreviations … vii List of Figures … viii Acknowledgements … x Perspectives to Mental (Dis)Order in Later Medieval Europe … 1 Sari Katajala-Peltomaa & Susanna Niiranen How to Get a Melancholy Marquess to Sleep? Melancholy in Scholastic Medicine … 21 Timo Joutsivuo Demons and Mental Disorder in Late Medieval Medicine … 47 Catherine Rider Anger as a Spiritual, Social and Mental Disorder in Late Medieval Swedish Exempla … 70 Marko Lamberg Signs of Mental Disorder in Late Medieval Visual Evidence … 91 Gerhard Jaritz Demonic Possession as Physical and Mental Disturbance in the Later Medieval Canonization Processes … 108 Sari Katajala-Peltomaa “Volebam tamen ut nomen michi esset Dyonisius” – Fra Salimbene, Wine and Well-Being … 128 Jussi Hanska Mental Disorders in Remedy Collections: A Comparison of Occitan and Swedish Material … 151 Susanna Niiranen Wine, Women and Song? Diet and Regimen for Royal Well-Being (King Duarte of Portugal, 1433–1438) … 177 Iona McCleery “This Worlde Is but a Pilgrimage”: Mental Attitudes in/to the Medieval Danse Macabre … 197 Sophie Oosterwijk Disturbances of the Mind and Body: Effects of the Living Dead in Medieval Iceland … 219 Kirsi Kanerva Bibliography … 243 Index … 281


All those interested in medieval culture; the medical, religious, intellectual, social, and art history of late medieval Europe.