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Performing Emotions in Early Europe

P. Maddern †, J. McEwan, A. M. Scott (eds.)
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XXX+296 p., 25 b/w ill., 156 x 234 mm, 2018
ISBN: 978-2-503-57237-6
Languages: English
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New perspectives on the performance of pre-modern emotions from international experts.

Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary approaches and innovative methodologies, this collection contributes ground-breaking new scholarship in the burgeoning field of emotions studies by examining how medieval and early modern Europeans communicated and ‘performed’ their emotions. Rejecting the notion that emotions are ‘essential’ or ‘natural’, this volume seeks to pay particular attention to cultural understandings of emotion by examining how they were expressed and conveyed in a wide range of historical situations. The contributors investigate the performance and reception of pre-modern emotions in a variety of contexts — in literature, art, and music, as well as through various social and religious performances — and in a variety of time periods ranging from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. These studies provide both case-studies of particular emotions and emotional negotiations, and examinations of how their categorisation, interpretation, and meaning has changed over time.

The contributors provide new insights into the expression and performance of pre-modern emotions from a wide range of disciplinary fields, including historical studies, literature, art history, musicology, gender studies, religious studies, and philosophy. Collectively, they theorise the performativity of medieval and early modern emotions and outline a new approach that takes fuller account of the historical specificity and cultural meanings of emotions at particular points in time.

This volume forms a companion to Understanding Emotions in Early Europe, edited by Michael Champion and Andrew Lynch (2015);  

Table of Contents

Introduction: Performing Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds — PHILIPPA MADDERN, JOANNE MCEWAN and ANNE M. SCOTT

Part I: Emotional Performativity in Music, Literature and the Visual Arts

Emotion, Time and Music at Cambrai Cathedral — MATTHEW CHAMPION

‘Affecting glory from vices’: Negotiating Shame in Prostitution Texts, 1660–1750 — EMILY COCK

Pageant, Spectacle, Dread and Love in Piers Plowman, Brueghel’s Triumph of Death and the Good Samaritan Window of Bourges Cathedral — ANNE M. SCOTT

Affected Bodies and Bodily Affect: Visualizing Emotion in Renaissance Plague Images — LOUISE MARSHALL

Part II: Social Performance

The ‘Slime of Vice’ and the ‘Passions of the Mind’: Emotional Histories in the Anglo-Norman World — LINDSAY DIGGELMANN

Courting Nassau Affections: Performing Love in Orange-Nassau Marriage Negotiations — SUSAN BROOMHALL and JACQUELINE VAN GENT

‘[D]id ringe at oure parish churche... for joye that the Queene of Skotts ... was beheaded’: Public Performances of Early Modern English Emotions — DOLLY MACKINNON

Part III: Religious Performance

Emotion, Place and Memory at the Royal Abbey of St Denis — MEGAN CASSIDY-WELCH

Boosting the Emotional Power of New Liturgy: The Hidden Sides of Things in Giotto’s Crib at Greccio — RICHARD READ

Discursive Affect and Emotional Prescriptiveness: On the ‘Man of Sorrows’ in Fourteenth-Century Italian Painting — LACHLAN TURNBULL

Martin Luther’s Heart — SUSAN C. KARANT-NUNN

Part IV: Recreating Emotional Performance

‘Laughing at Death’: Emotional Excess in The Duchess of Malfi in Performance — STEVE CHINNA



"Overall, the volume achieves a breadth of coverage and depth of analysis that will make it an indispensable source for historians of emotion in Europe’s medieval and early modern periods." (Bruce Buchan, in Emotions: History, Culture, Society, 2/2, 2018, p. 351)

« (…) ce livre est le résultat d’un travail créatif marqué par l’ouverture disciplinaire et par la volonté d’expérimenter de nouvelles voies pour approcher les sources historiques. Ce volume est ainsi tout à fait représentatif du travail effectué au CHE ces dernières années et suscitera une bonne dose de stimulation intellectuelle chez le lecteur.» (Xavier Biron-Ouellet, dans Francia-Recensio, 1, 2019)



Interest Classification:
Medieval & Modern (Indo-European) Languages & Literatures
Comparative & cultural studies through literature
Cultural studies (general & theoretical)
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history
Modern History (1501 to the present)
Early modern history (1501-1800) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history

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