Back Away from the Stereotypes

I really enjoyed Rosenwein’s article, as it offered a very expansive view of both how the Medieval era (as well as present day) is thought to have expressed, or in some cases, failed to repress, their emotional states. One goal of this class, I believe, is to continuously look for ways to contextualize the past without letting our present stereotypes about how things must have been affect the way we read these works too much (to ask for this to disappear altogether would be impossible). Rosenwein does a great job of introducing us to her argument of emotional communities, which discredits the “ruling narrative” of an uncontrolled past followed by a controlled present. So, in a sense, Rosenwein is doing something that we, as Medieval scholars, should strive to do – release previous stereotypes and notions and see things more abstractly than what might be the ‘easy’ thing to believe.

Regardless if one agrees or disagrees with Rosenwein’s argument, I think that her article is invaluable to us as we are introduced to more Medieval texts. Now we have a better sense of how emotional studies have developed over time, and are hence offered different ways of considering the Medieval period. That being said, I will argue that Rosenwein’s theory seems to be the most forgiving. I particularly appreciated, as someone has already mentioned, the psychcological theories behind emotion that she introduces to us. Yet more proof that the studies of Psychology and English are wonderful complements of each other.

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