The aim of Sin, Interiority, and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West is to uncover the conception of self that underlay the demand that all Christians confess their innermost thoughts. Drawing on sources from the world of the medieval schools, it juxtaposes discussions that treat topics ranging from the difficulties of discerning the source of tears to the mechanics of original sin. All these discussions are linked by their underlying interest in the internal aspects of committing or remitting sin. Contextualizing these aspects of interiority allows us to see what role was assigned to internal actions in medieval definitions of the self; it also provides insight into the intellectual currents that contributed to that understanding.
“As I have indicated above, troubadour lyric in particular, and the courtly tradition in general, clearly belong to this evolution, and scholars of those and other twelfth-century texts will gain much insight from the arguments of this book.” (Sarah Spence, in The Medieval Review, 02.04.2017)