In this mixed bag of jargon-heavy academic meandering (it contains plenty of instances of ""alerity,"" ""liminality"" and ""disavowing"") and crisp theorizing, Mills, a lecturer in English at King's College, London, has performed the valuable service of collecting a wide array of visual and textual examples of what he calls ""medieval penal imaginary."" The examples, mostly fifteenth century artworks, include a detailed skin flaying from Gerard David's The Judgement of Cambyses, a mastectomy from Master Francke's Martyrdom of St. Barbara and a disemboweling from Dieric Bouts's St. Erasmus Altarpiece. These images show how alien and weirdly familiar the imagery of the late Middle Ages-a strange brew of brutally violent and suggestively erotic images-are to our own world. One of the more convincing parallels Mills draws is between the iconography of women martyred saints and modern pornographic imagery. The book also contains suggestive readings of gender confusion in the sponsa Christi (bride of Christ) tradition in texts and artwork, and of the conspicuous phallic erections of Christ in several Man of Sorrows paintings. This particular discussion, however, lacks, like much of book, a sound contextualization for the artworks. This book will certainly turn heads in the academy and draw fire from critics. If the casual reader can maneuver through the theoretical jargon, this lavishly illustrated book offers a disturbing and fascinating journey into the penal imagery of the late Middle Ages. 94 halftones, 10 color plates.