Imagination Meditation, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages
This book revises the history of medieval imagination with detailed analysis of its role in the period’s meditations and theories of cognition. Karnes understands imagination in its technical, philosophical sense, taking her cue from Bonaventure, who provided the first sustained account of how the philosophical imagination could be transformed into a devotional one. Karnes examines Bonaventure’s meditational works, the Meditationes vitae Christi, the Stimulis amoris, PPl, and Nicholas Love’s Myrrour, among others, and argues that the cognitive importance that imagination enjoyed in scholastic philosophy informed its status in medieval meditations on the life of Christ. After establishing the indebtedness of meditation to imagination, Karnes argues that L’s Imaginatif teaches Will to reconcile his lived experience with clerical instruction. Such a feat enables Will, through his imagination, to inhabit vividly the gospel-inspired scenes that bring the poem to a close. The book revises a long-standing association of imagination with the Middle Ages that considers imagination to have been above all an object of suspicion. Karnes argues that it was also a crucial intellectual, spiritual, and literary resource that exercised considerable authority. (MK)
- Nigel F. Palmer, Medium Ævum, 81 (2012), 322-23
- Eleanor Johnson, YLS, 27 (2013), 131-34.