Lifelong Learning Lectures
The greatest sufferer of the ‘puritanisation’ enforced on traditional religion by the 16th-century Reformation was the English church building, particularly the major cult sites, whose devotional infrastructure was radically changed as a result. The sensorially stimulating performatory delights of late-medieval Catholic religion were replaced; not only the synaesthetic interplay, but the olfactory, kinaesthetic, audible, haptic and even visuality of faith was dramatically scaled down, and emphasis transferred to the supremacy of the Word as proffered only through sight and sound. The eye of faith literal was replaced by the eye of faith lateral.
A major consequence of the Reforms was the sudden loss of ‘interactive’ worship and thus an ultimate censoring of the sensory. The consequential sense of loss will be explored by assessing the impact of the continual revision and adaptation of the saintly infrastructure of the English cathedral-church.
Focus will be centred upon the culture of materiality by taking each element of the pilgrimage church – including documentary, material, and archaeological evidence – to explore how the continual reduction in the role of the senses affected the ability to interact with and fully experience what had been the main pillar of late-medieval religion: the cults of the saints.
Other lectures in this series include:
- 'I see bad people': Is the sixth sense a moral sense?
- Secret ceramic worlds: The untold story of twentieth-century ceramic art
- Judging books by their covers