The topic of imprisonment in medieval literature. With an emphasis on Johann Schiltberger’s account about his 30-year enslavement in the East

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

One of the dramatic, if not traumatic, experiences in life has always been enslavement and imprisonment, that is, the loss of personal freedom, and this for many different reasons. Curiously, medieval literature does not seem to address this topic extensively, at least at first sight, and research has paid rather little attention to this issue. A close analysis, however, demonstrates quickly that the theme of imprisonment was of significant concern throughout the Middle Ages, probably because the loss of individual freedom happened more often than not and could also affect members of the nobility. There were many cases of imprisonment as a result of criminal activities, sometimes also committed by knights or noble ladies. Worst, however, was the experience of those who were taken as captives after a battle and then were enslaved. This article provides a first framework for the study of this large topic in pre-modern literature and so-called ego-documents and then focuses on a most dramatic example, the report by the long-term slave Johannes Schiltberger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStudia Neophilologica
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • Imprisonment
  • Johannes Schiltberger
  • loss of freedom
  • medieval prisoners
  • slavery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The topic of imprisonment in medieval literature. With an emphasis on Johann Schiltberger’s account about his 30-year enslavement in the East'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this