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Chapter Summary

Although seals have traditionally occupied only a limited corner of medieval scholarship, an argument has been advanced in this book that seals, as imprinted and replicated images, were central to life and thought in the high Middle Ages. All elements composing this representational module mutually affected each other, with the result that their definitions varied, testing or promoting the specific theories of signification that were then mustered within theological, philosophical, and linguistic debates. The twelfth-century seal was the form assumed in the course of critical dialogues between theory and social process, between the material world and its perceived structure of intelligibility. The material and procedural quality of seals as imprints was a crucial mediator of human understanding and of pragmatic action, bringing into focus new subjects and new possibilities, among these the concept of individuality.

Keywords: imprinting process; individuality; twelfth-century seal



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