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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson, eds. Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and Its Meanings. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. Pp. 378. $104.95 (cloth).

  • Author(s): Lupton, Julia Reinhard
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License

This ambitious and engaging volume gathers together papers delivered at a conference at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in 2007. Contributors include art historians, archaeologists, historians, curators, and literary scholars. Essays are grouped thematically, while a second table of contents lists essays by object type (clothing, shoes, tableware, domestic goods, etc.). The volume is weighted heavily toward historical study, with very little theoretical or phenomenological reflection. Instead, archaeologists like David Gaimster and Dinah Eastop and established literary scholars like Natasha Korda and Lena Cowen Orlin provide very precise object histories, always tuned, however, to scenes of meaning and use, both in situ and over time. The diverse pieces converge in their commitment to understanding the performative, practical, and sensuous life of objects in acts of worship, courtship, care, consumption, conviviality, and commensality. Some highlights from the volume follow.

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