Session Title

Emotions in Medieval Literature

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Medieval Institute, Univ. of Notre Dame

Organizer Name

Xiaoyi Zhang; Jacob Coen

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Notre Dame; Univ. of Notre Dame

Presider Name

Xiaoyi Zhang; Jacob Coen

Paper Title 1

Anglo-Saxon as Other in the Middle English Athelston

Presenter 1 Name

Dominique Battles

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Hanover College

Paper Title 2

Strengthening an Unwell King: Emotions, Literature, and the Reign of Charles VI

Presenter 2 Name

Charles-Louis Morand-Métivier

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of Vermont

Paper Title 3

Poetics of Funerary Lament in Medieval Literature: An Anthropological Survey

Presenter 3 Name

Andrea Ghidoni

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. degli Studi di Macerata

Paper Title 4

Fantastic Sadness in Medieval Literature

Presenter 4 Name

Matthew Horrell

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. of Iowa

Start Date

9-5-2020 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1355

Description

Emotions—affects, passions, feelings, and sentiments—have become one of the most significant topics in medieval studies. As medieval thinkers noted, emotions played a critical role in the cognitive and ethical functions of human mind on an individual level; on the communal level, emotions—shaped by social norms and rules—were used as instruments in the formation and dissolution of medieval communities and social movements. In recent years, historians of emotions have not only studied emotions as historical norms and rules under the heading of “emotionology”, but also expanded their research to include performative, constructivist, and practice theory approaches, which generate methodological concepts such as emotives, emotional habitus, emotional community/regime etc.

Given the vital importance of emotions to medieval culture, an examination of emotions in medieval literary works would shed new light on the interrelations between emotions, literature, and medieval communities. As Mary Carruthers has stated, great literary works, “do not just simulate or represent human feelings, but [also] produce them in those who are experiencing the work”; they serve as “agents in our emotions and thoughts as well as our sensations.” Literary works, as “affective scripts”, are capable of generating complex emotional effects in those who engage with them. As texts were memorized in the middle ages, medieval literary texts can be considered as emotional communities in which the readers lived together and shared a common vocabulary, values, and memories.

A study on emotions is to bound be interdisciplinary. This session invites papers that draw upon a variety of fields to study emotions in the medieval literature, among which the history of emotions and the study on affective piety are prominent ones. Participants should not only aim to historicize emotions, i.e. the social-historical contexts of emotions, but also to draw upon the medieval literary theory and practice. Papers are encouraged to focus on key emotions (such as grief, fear, and anger) in the highly influential literary canons of the high and late middle ages (circa. 1000-1500). Xiaoyi Zhang

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May 9th, 10:00 AM

Emotions in Medieval Literature

Schneider 1355

Emotions—affects, passions, feelings, and sentiments—have become one of the most significant topics in medieval studies. As medieval thinkers noted, emotions played a critical role in the cognitive and ethical functions of human mind on an individual level; on the communal level, emotions—shaped by social norms and rules—were used as instruments in the formation and dissolution of medieval communities and social movements. In recent years, historians of emotions have not only studied emotions as historical norms and rules under the heading of “emotionology”, but also expanded their research to include performative, constructivist, and practice theory approaches, which generate methodological concepts such as emotives, emotional habitus, emotional community/regime etc.

Given the vital importance of emotions to medieval culture, an examination of emotions in medieval literary works would shed new light on the interrelations between emotions, literature, and medieval communities. As Mary Carruthers has stated, great literary works, “do not just simulate or represent human feelings, but [also] produce them in those who are experiencing the work”; they serve as “agents in our emotions and thoughts as well as our sensations.” Literary works, as “affective scripts”, are capable of generating complex emotional effects in those who engage with them. As texts were memorized in the middle ages, medieval literary texts can be considered as emotional communities in which the readers lived together and shared a common vocabulary, values, and memories.

A study on emotions is to bound be interdisciplinary. This session invites papers that draw upon a variety of fields to study emotions in the medieval literature, among which the history of emotions and the study on affective piety are prominent ones. Participants should not only aim to historicize emotions, i.e. the social-historical contexts of emotions, but also to draw upon the medieval literary theory and practice. Papers are encouraged to focus on key emotions (such as grief, fear, and anger) in the highly influential literary canons of the high and late middle ages (circa. 1000-1500). Xiaoyi Zhang