Contextualizing Late Medieval Emotions

Authored by: Esther Cohen

The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World

Print publication date:  September  2020
Online publication date:  September  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649460
eBook ISBN: 9781003080206
Adobe ISBN:


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The chapter examines four key emotions: love, fear, anger (including revenge), and shame. These have two emotional levels: Firstly, the basic emotion word, denoting a widely recognized emotion, amenable to comparative examination, and secondly, its diachronic examination. Nevertheless, each emotion term is in reality a box hiding within it a cluster of emotions that may differ from culture to culture. These clusters contain some emotions that we would not expect in a modern cluster under the name of love, fear, anger, or shame. In modern culture, for example, the concept of ‘good shame’ as imitation of Christ is practically unintelligible, though shame alone is a transcultural emotional concept.

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