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Incarnational Materiality: The World of Things in the Context of the Lollard Challenge

Subproject by Prof. Dr. Andrew James Johnston


Due to the rise of Lollardy, late medieval England witnessed an intense religious conflict concerning the nature of the Eucharist. The Lollards questioned the sacrament, regulated and formalised at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, in that they negated the miraculous transubstantiation of the host into the body and blood of Christ during Mass, believing instead that bread and wine maintained their accidents and their substance. It is against this background that the project investigates the impact of religious notions of materiality on late medieval fictional texts. The project examines how these texts negotiate the conflict on the level of literary representation, for example by drawing on diverse aspects from the various metaphysical, ontological and epistemological debates and transferring them to the fictional domain.