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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Professor Andrew Beresford

(2016). From Scopophilia to Abjection: Vision and Blindness in the Monja que se arrancó los ojos. Miríada Hispánica 12: 111-127.

Author(s) from Durham


The brief untitled exemplum preserved uniquely in MS 77 of the Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo and generally known as the Monja que se arrancó los ojos, tells the tale of a nun who, rather than submit to the lechery of a king, opts instead to mutilate herself in order to spurn his attentions. This article, which draws on theories of the gaze and of abjection (showing how from a certain theoretical perspective they could be considered complementary hermeneutics for tackling the same issue), analyses the complex symbolic implications of self-mutilation, showing how the Nun’s actions could be interpreted from a range of complementary perspectives.