Saint Margaret's Tattoos: Empowering Marks on White Skin

Nyffenegger, Nicole (2013). Saint Margaret's Tattoos: Empowering Marks on White Skin. Exemplaria, 25(4), pp. 267-283. Maney

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Saint Margaret, as presented in the “Katherine Group” life of the virgin martyr, claims to have Christ’s “marks” and “seals” on her. Bringing together postmodern theories of body modification and Paul Zumthor’s concept of mouvance, this essay reads these marks as tattoos that consist of virtual (tattoo fantasies), oral (tattoo narratives), and written elements (the actual marks on skin). Margaret defends and empowers herself by claiming to possess Christ’s ownership tattoo. Her oppressor Olibrius, in turn, intends to overwrite that mark palimpsestically and hence to empower himself, not unlike slave-owners in antiquity. While the gruesome torture scenes suggest that Olibrius wins the upper hand in this contest, the outcome of the narrative instead proves that Margaret triumphs. She dies a virgin after defiantly appropriating, in her tattoo narrative, the torture marks as her own, divine tattoo.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of English Languages and Literatures

UniBE Contributor:

Nyffenegger, Nicole Andrea

Subjects:

800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism > 820 English & Old English literatures
400 Language > 420 English & Old English languages

ISSN:

1041-2573

Publisher:

Maney

Language:

English

Submitter:

Nicole Andrea Nyffenegger-Staub

Date Deposited:

11 Apr 2014 11:45

Last Modified:

22 Aug 2018 08:32

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Tattoo, Mouvance, St. Margaret, Heiligenleben

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.45218

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45218

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