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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1114: Medieval Fools: Gestures and Emotions

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Sponsor:Université de Lausanne / Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft
Organiser:Alexander Schwarz, Section d'Allemand, Université de Lausanne
Moderator/Chair:Cora Dietl, Onderzoekinstituut voor Geschiedenis en Cultuur, Universiteit Utrecht
Paper 1114-aTristan and his Foolishness in Courtly Epics
(Language: English)
Patrizia Mazzadi, Istituto Culturale Italo-Tedesco, Vicenza
Index terms: Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - German
Paper 1114-bTristan and the Effects of the Love Potion
(Language: English)
Neil Thomas, Department of German, University of Durham
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1114-c'Don't Make Me Laugh!': The Narrative Function of Laughter and its Forms in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and other Old and Middle English Texts
(Language: English)
Lucy M. Perry, University College Dublin
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Language and Literature - Middle English, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1114-dAn Anglo-Norman Fool in Constantinople: Der Pfaffe Amis
(Language: English)
Cordula Böcking-Politis, Department of Germanic Studies, Trinity College Dublin
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Mentalities

Medieval fools are recognised either by their nakedness or by their colourful costumes with ass’s ears and cock’s comb, jangling with bells. In both cases they swing their marotte, whether it be a weapon of attack or defence, threateningly. Their body language and their gestures both express and provoke emotions. Their attacks are both physical and psychological. Psychological because the marotte is a perverted sceptre and the fool’s body language transgresses all rules of good behaviour, deriding our mores. The evolution from medieval to early modern fools and from ‘natural’ to artificial fools merits special interest. These papers consider both the representation of fools and their performances in texts and images and responses to ‘foolish’ gestures and behaviour