The Human Heart in the Middle Ages and the Practice of Ablation – or Treatment of the Dead for Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day comes around, spare a passing thought for that ubiquitous red heart that has come to symbolize the event. Historically speaking, there is a lot more than is at the surface for that emblem of love.

Nazis, Trolls and the Grateful Dead: Turmoil among Sweden’s Folklorists

A story of love, betrayal and impending war became entwined with upheavals that affect the discipline of folklore to this day.

#PhallusThursday – The Penis as Potent Symbol

Many classical sculptures today have lost their penises to time and prudery but the ancient world was awash with explicit graphic imagery.

Roses are Red: The Sinister Side of Valentine’s Day Folklore

Sending mean cards? Eating mashed earthworms? Using jack o’lanterns to light medieval love banquets? They’re all surprising yet vaguely sinister ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – a Bewitching Masterpiece of Mediaeval Poetry

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is a fourteenth century poetic masterpiece. No mere Arthurian romance, it is a work of huge religious, spiritual and mystical power. In subjecting its hero to the hardest of temptations, it reveals the hollowness of the chivalric ideal, the weakness of men and the loneliness of the human condition.

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