This book-project is relying upon my previous studies on the medieval stigmatized fame of Saint Margaret of Hungary, and its broader context: the Cistercian and the Dominican Orders’ enduring endeavor in the Middle Ages to find a female stigmatized counterpart to Saint Francis of Assisi. This rivalry prompted the emergence of several claims for stigmatized Beguines or nuns associated to these two orders: Elisabeth of Spalbeek, Christina of Stommeln, Margaret of Hungary, Lukardis of Oberweimar, and others. The Dominicans finally obtained their objective with the canonization of Saint Catherine of Siena, but this same rivalry continued with new living saints of the Dominicans: Lucia Brocadelli, Osanna Andreasi, Caterina Racconigi. Another background for this research has been provided by the collaborative research group dealing with a historical, anthropological and psychological enquiry into visions, a group we have been coordinating with my anthropologist colleague William Christian since 2007. As a researcher interested in a historical-anthropological analysis of late medieval spirituality, I would like now to situate the phenomena of the stigmatics in the broader context of all kinds of bodily effects of visions. Furthermore, I would like to study the phenomenon from its emergence with the new spirituality of the mendicant orders, and above all, with the towering personality of Saint Francis, not only throughout the centuries of the Middle Ages. My proposal is to open it up to a real longue durée (or long term), and to analyze, using the medieval bases, also the modern and contemporary cases, which have much more ample documentation, adding medical and psychological record to textual and iconographic sources.
Gábor Klaniczay is Professor at the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University in Budapest. Born in 1950, he graduated in history in 1974 from Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), where he returned to teach in 1984. From 1994 to 1997, he was Head of the Department of Medieval European History. In 1992, he founded the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University, which he directed from 1991 to 1997 and from 2005 to 2007. In 1997-2002 and 2008 he served as Rector of Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study, and remained there as Permanent Fellow until 2011. His main academic interests are historical anthropology of popular religion (sainthood, miracle beliefs, healing, magic, witchcraft); medieval and modern visions and their bodily manifestations, and comparative cultural and religious history of Hungary and central Europe in an all-European context. His books include The Uses of Supernatural Power, Cambridge/Princeton, 1990; Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses, Cambridge, 2002; Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions (ed. with Éva Pócs), Budapest, 2008.