Book Series International Medieval Research, vol. 18

Medieval Life Cycles

Continuity and Change

Isabelle Cochelin, Karen Smyth (eds)

  • Pages: 360 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:7 b/w, 3 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54069-6
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54126-6
  • E-book
  • Available


"The editors have brought together a heterogeneous but enlightening group of articles that illuminate the life cycle from many different perspectives." (Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, in: The Medieval Review 14.04.07)

"Der Band beleuchtet anhand verschiedenster Textgenres, Zeitabschnitte und Methoden die vielschichtige Wahrnehmung und Flexbilität des Konzeptes "Lebensalter" im Mittelalter und liefert dabei einige neue Erkenntnisse zum Forschungsfeld der historischen Anthropologie." (Tanja Skambraks, in: Historische Zeitschrift, 300.2, 2015, p. 472-473)

"La variété des sources et la volonté, dans chaque chapitre, de préciser les termes employés et de nuancer le propos confèrent à ce recueil une valeur scientifique indéniable. " (Marie Formarier, in: Francia Recensio 2015/4, Mittelalter - Moyen Âge (500-1500),


The essays in this collection present new research into a variety of questions on birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and old age, ordered in a more or less chronological manner according to the lifecycle. The volume exposes attitudes and representations of the lifecycle from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the Middle Ages as being full of inconsistencies as well as definitive categories, and of variation and stasis. This attests to the fact that medieval conceptions and representations of the stages of life and their interrelationships are much more nuanced and less idealized than is usually credited. Medieval conceptual, mental, artistic, cultural, and sociological processes are scrutinized using various approaches and methods that cross disciplinary boundaries. What is emphasized across the volume is that there were varying, context-dependent rhythms of continuity and change in every stage of life in the medieval period. The volume’s selection of authors is international in scope and represents some of the leading current scholarship in the field.