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Sleeping with the Enemy: Infertility and Wife Murder in a Miracle of St. Peter Martyr

Presciutti, Diana Bullen (2019) 'Sleeping with the Enemy: Infertility and Wife Murder in a Miracle of St. Peter Martyr.' In: Kuuliala, Jenni and Peake, Rose-Marie and Räisänen-Schröder, Päivi, (eds.) Lived Religion and Everyday Life in Early Modern Hagiographic Material. Palgrave Studies in the History of Experience . Palgrave MacMillan, 127 - 151. ISBN 9783030155537, 3030155536

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Abstract

In her article ‘Sleeping with the Enemy: Infertility and Wife Murder in a Miracle of St. Peter Martyr’, Diana Bullen Presciutti examines three paintings of a miracle ascribed to the Dominican saint in order to demonstrate the value of visual hagiography as a form of historical evidence, one that allows for a richer understanding of how poorly documented social problems like uxoricide and infertility were perceived in Renaissance Italy. In the miracle story, Peter Martyr revives a stillborn baby and thereby resolves a domestic crisis: the baby’s father, frustrated by his wife’s repeated stillbirths, had developed a violent hatred for her. In the paintings, the father is identified as an idealised young aristocrat, his wife as a pious votary, and the saint as a potent thaumaturge and effective social mediator. Presciutti elucidates how the images construct infertility as an existential threat to elite masculine honour and present murderous rage as an understandable (and potentially forgivable) response to it.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Christian hagiography
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2020 19:47
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2020 19:47
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29137

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