Image on the Edge

The Margins of Medieval Art

Michael Camille

Image on the Edge

Michael Camille

Distributed for Reaktion Books

208 pages | 13 color plates, 25 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789140064 Will Publish October 2018 For sale in North and South America only
What do they all mean—the lascivious ape, autophagic dragons, potbellied heads, harp-playing asses, arse-kissing priests, and somersaulting jongleurs to be found protruding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? A groundbreaking, celebrated study of marginalia in mediaeval art, Michael Camille’s Image on the Edge explores this riotous realm so often explained away as mere decoration or zany doodles, a place where resistance to social constraints flourished. Along with their loftier subjects of knights and clerics, medieval image-makers focused attention on the underside of society, the excluded and the ejected. Peasants, servants, prostitutes, and beggars all found their place in their artworks, engaged in impudent antics in the margins of prayer-books or, as gargoyles, on the outsides of churches. Camille’s essays illuminate how marginality functioned in medieval culture, showing us just how scandalous, subversive, and amazing the art of the time could be.
Review Quotes
Times Higher Education
“A handsome, entertaining account of the peculiar fashion for grotesque, obscene, and humorous presences on the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts.”
Art Newspaper
“Looking at medieval manuscripts more and more closely, peering with pleasure into the borders of bunnies and monkeys, whether we seek deliberate smut or idle whimsy, it makes Image on the Edge well worth reading. It is an entirely diverting and unusual book.”
Burlington Magazine
“If the study of medieval art is not to remain an esoteric and elitist discipline then more books like this must be written.”
Oxford Art Journal
“Camille’s polymathic essays undoubtedly will provoke such studies and will expand the field of questions we ask . . . and in this he will have made a valuable contribution.”
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