Social Emotions

  • Venue: Percy Building, G.10
  • Start: Tue, 16 Apr 2019 14:00:00 BST
  • End: Tue, 16 Apr 2019 15:30:00 BST

Eva Lieberich (Free University, Berlin), ‘Sin and social control: Envious opponents of love in German medieval romance'


In German minnesong the envious person functions as a figure of huote, that is society’s control of the couple in love. This constellation is taken up in medieval romance as for example the German Tristan romances, the Engelhard romance and Reinfried von Braunschweig. The envious person is the one who discovers the often illegitimate love and informs the ruler about the lovers. In my talk I would like to concentrate on the regulative power of so called negative emotion and explore how envy is used by medieval narrators to discredit and shift normative values.  This talk will summarize very short two central findings: 1. that despite being a capital sin envy can function as a productive emotion for society in medieval literature. 2. that many medieval romances make use of a rhetoric of envy influenced by the rediscovery of Roman literature.


Daniel Derrin (Durham), ‘Laughter as productive emotion: savouring disgust with Shakespeare’s comic characters’


What makes a comic character laughable, both to audiences within plays and outside them? One kind of answer to that question would emphasise the way characters constructed as laughable negate social or moral norms. Another would emphasise instead the pleasure/s that they generate in doing so. With some comic characters, a kind of emotional duality opens up: they seem constructed to be both ideologically repellent and, at the same time, attractive or pleasurable. They invite something like what Carolyn Korsmeyer has called the aesthetics of ‘savouring disgust’. As part of a larger project on Shakespeare, comedy, and ethical imagination, this paper looks at examples of such emotional/ideological duality in Shakespeare’s comic characters, where Bakhtin’s model of ‘low’ overturning ‘high’ is insufficient. It argues that, in some cases, the two sides of the duality (repellence and attraction) are not merely incidental but closely connected, in ways that make them ethically and emotionally productive.


Respondent: Adam Morton (Newcastle)


iCal Individual Event Link