Emotions in a Crusading Context, 1095-1291

ISBN : 9780198833369

Stephen J. Spencer
320 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
Emotions in History
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Emotions in a Crusading Context is the first book-length study of the emotional rhetoric of crusading. It investigates the ways in which a number of emotions and affective displays - primarily fear, anger, and weeping - were understood, represented, and utilized in twelfth- and thirteenth-century western narratives of the crusades, making use of a broad range of comparative material to gauge the distinctiveness of those texts: crusader letters, papal encyclicals, model sermons, chansons de geste, lyrics, and an array of theological and philosophical treatises. In addition to charting continuities and changes over time in the emotional landscape of crusading, this study identifies the underlying influences which shaped how medieval authors represented and used emotions; analyzes the passions crusade participants were expected to embrace and reject; and assesses whether the idea of crusading created a profoundly new set of attitudes towards emotions.
Emotions in a Crusading Context calls on scholars of the crusades to reject the traditional methodological approach of taking the emotional descriptions embedded within historical narratives as straightforward reflections of protagonists' lived feelings, and in so doing challenges the long historiographical tradition of reconstructing participants' beliefs and experiences from these texts. Within the history of emotions, Stephen J. Spencer demonstrates that, despite the ongoing drive to develop new methodologies for studying the emotional standards of the past, typified by experiments in 'neurohistory', the social constructionist (or cultural-historical) approach still has much to offer the historian of medieval emotions.


Part I. Fear
1 To Fear Death or Trust in God?
2 The Multifaceted Nature of Fear
Part II. Tears and Grief
3 The Lachrymose Crusader
4 Discourses of Tears and Sorrow
Part III. Anger and its Management
5 Zealous Wrath for the Holy Land
6 Restraining Rage

About the author: 

Stephen J. Spencer completed his doctorate at Queen Mary University of London, where he taught on the crusades, Islam and the West, knighthood and chivalry, and medieval mentalities. He is currently a Past and Present Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, conducting research on the memorialization of the Third Crusade in western Europe and the Latin East before 1300.

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