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Medieval Sensibilities


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: The Christianization of Emotion (third to fifth centuries) The theology of emotion An emotional God God's wrath: a proof of his existence God is love Passion incarnate The anthropology of emotion The Christian passions Augustine: father of medieval affectivity Sin and punishment A new order of humanity Chapter 2: The City of Desire: The Monastic Laboratory The desert: from the care of the body to the care of the soul The bad thoughts of Evagrius of Pontus Cassian and the foundations of community: from charity to virtuous friendship Affective conversion in Western monasticism Monastic norms for converting the emotions Gregory the Great and sacrificial emotion Chapter 3: Emotions for a Christian Society: The Frankish World (fifth to tenth centuries) The early Middle Ages: a fragmented age? Emotional bonds Amicitia / inimicitia And what of women in all of this? The rise of heavenly emotions New forms of lay devotion Moral teaching The Carolingian vision of society: unity in love Chapter 4: The Zenith of Monastic Affection The origins of affective renewal A compassionate eremitism The privilege of love: fraternal affection amongst an ascetic elite The affective reform of monasticism and the Church. Friendship as the practice of conversion: Anselm of Canterbury The expansion of love's domain Passionate charity as spiritual nature Ordering the emotions Sensitive pieties The world as horizon: spiritual friendship and fraternal charity in the twelfth century Chapter 5: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Aristocratic Emotions in Feudal Society (eleventh to thirteenth centuries) The emotional order of feudal society A society of spectacle Revolutions of love The loving couple and its twin The naturalization of love The impossible innamoramento of same-sex lovers Literary emotions and aristocratic values Epic emotions Looking upon another, another looking upon oneself: jealousy and shame Chapter 6: The Emotive Nature of Man (eleventh to thirteenth centuries) A prelude: the controversy over the 'first movements of the soul' Accidents of the soul and of the heart: the medical science of emotion The emotional mechanism Emotions and healthy living Remedies for melancholy Monastic anthropology in the twelfth century: the challenges of a spiritual psychology Affect as a power of the soul For better or for worse: the affective union of body and soul Towards a university science of the passions of the soul: the thirteenth century Emotions and individuals between psychology and morality: the early thirteenth century John of La Rochelle: the turning point of scholastic anthropology Thomas Aquinas: a psychological science of the passions Chapter 7: The Politics of Princely Emotion (twelfth to fifteenth centuries) Sovereign emotion From the political body to the princely body, and back again. The prince in the mirror of his emotions The emotional portrait of St. Louis Governing through emotion Ira regis Anger as verdict: the murder of Thomas Beckett. Casting shame and being ashamed Negotiating emotions Sovereignty and the transformation of political emotion: the example of friendship Emotion as a political event 'To cry is to govern' Chapter 8: The Mystical Conquest of Emotion (thirteenth to fifteenth centuries) The cultural roots of 'affective mysticism' The Gregorian renewal of theology and the anthropology of religious practices Religious fervour: a collective emotion Francis of Assisi and the revolution of embodied emotion The experience of pious women Vision, imagination and embodiment: paths towards union with the suffering of Christ The sacramental 'emotive': the emotional navigation of mystics The emotional incarnation of the sacred: gender and society Epilogue: the devotio moderna and the softening of affective piety Chapter 9: Common Emotion (thirteenth to fifteenth centuries) The public sharing of performative emotions Emotion and violence: popular movements Settling conflicts through the sharing of emotion Emotions and social identities When emotions expressed communities Excluding through emotion: fomenting hatred The 'pastoral of emotions' The scholastic theory of emotional education Emotional rhetoric: the manufacture of laughter and shame The scripting of emotional persuasion Conclusion Notes Bibliography Figure credits Index

About the Author

Damien Boquet is Lecturer in History at the University of Aix-Marseille. Piroska Nagy is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Quebec at Montreal.


'This pathbreaking book, from two pioneer researchers on the history of emotions, tracks the unfolding of a gradual "emotional revolution," beginning in late antiquity, that slowly transformed medieval society from top to bottom. An ancient ideal of calm self-control was supplanted by a vision of God and human beings bound together by emotional, even passionate, relationships. Every dimension of social life is brought into the story, from religion to politics, to gender, to popular culture, building a new understanding of the medieval world that sweeps aside the all-too-resilient cliches of Johan Huizinga and Norbert Elias.' William M. Reddy, Duke University

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