Analyzing Emotion

While I like and agree with Rosenwein’s theory that throughout history, and even now, people operate in emotional communities, for my own research of medieval texts, I would prefer methods closer to those used in McNamer’s “Feelings.” As Rosenwein describes it, tons of diverse, yet connected, sources must be gathered and then analyzed for “gestures” of emotion before speculating on the emotional community that may have existed.  Even though the heavy reliance on speculation is also present in McNamer’s method, I like that she uses historical context and then reads deeply into the text, using all those English major skills we’ve been honing.  Her readings of the two works, though not entirely clear to me, we’re interesting and unique.  I have read Sir Gawain before but probably just skimmed right over the stanza she analyzes so extensively.  Her focus on the performity of the texts (and of emotion) also struck me as something that definitely should be taken into account when working with medieval literature.

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