Sophie Page is an Associate Professor in Medieval History at University College London. Her research focuses on medieval magic and astrology, especially in relation to religion, medicine, cosmology and the history of animals Her publications include in the Cloister: Pious Motives, Illicit Interests, and Occult Approaches to the Medieval Universe and an edited collection, The Unorthodox Imagination in Late Medieval Britain.
In the ordered universe of medieval scholars, the creation of a benevolent and rational God, only three kinds of beings were thought to exist: humans, animals, and spirits. Can medieval monsters (‘a thing deformed against kind’) only be interpreted as expressions of humour, moral teaching, social commentary, or decorative play? In this talk I will look for ‘real’ monsters at the boundaries of the human, animal, and demon, that is beings that were thought to actually exist in the surprisingly capacious medieval universe, from miraculous werewolves and supernatural ancestors to the beasts of the apocalypse.