The ordeals of interpretation

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Ordeals of Interpretation analyzes medieval ordeals, the reading of data in the polygraph and some methods of torture, while reading texts like Hamlet and Macbeth. This book describes the ambition for a touchstone that demonstrates the veracity, or authenticity, of certain entities. Note that touchstone - basanos - was a term used to denominate the stone with which the quality of gold was tested in commercial contexts, but which also designated the idea of testing, torture and torturing. For the interpreters mentioned in this book, the touchstone, which can be an object, a person or a test, would have the ability to help us distinguish friends from enemies, to identify the quality of some verses and to illuminate the truth. It is argued, however, that the ability to make precise judgements derives from a technical understanding of interpretation led by skilful individuals, noting that the ability to discover "the truth" depends on each examiner's skill, intuition, ability to learn a specific method or technique, to detect errors and ask questions (important qualities in the activity of a literary critic).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCoimbra
PublisherCoimbra University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9789892619583
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Interpretation
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • Ordeal
  • Polygraph
  • Torture


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