Session 812: Passion and Desire
Tuesday 11 July 2006, 16.30-18.00
|Moderator/Chair:||Antonio Sennis, Department of History, University College London|
|Paper 812-a||Love Expression in Macedonian Medieval Folk Poems|
Index terms: Folk Studies, Language and Literature - Slavic, Sexuality
|Paper 812-b||Desire and the Devotional Present in the Middle English Pearl|
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Lay Piety, Performance Arts - General, Religious Life
|Paper 812-c||Gender Gestures as Expression: Gawain’s Sexual and Linguistic Failure|
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Sexuality
Abstract paper -a: This article presents various types of love emotions (erotic, friendly, and family) and their corporal manifestation through the manner of behaviour closely related to body changes and gestures. Two main types of gestures are discovered in the scope of erotic emotions: male (quick motions, strength, daring), and female (submissiveness, restrain, yearning, hidden movements), which may be interpreted as a reflection of medieval moral restrain. Friendship between men is illustrated with smile on their faces, whereas female gestures are more intimate (hugging, kissing). Through these heroes’ gestures from Macedonian medieval folk poems the delicacy of the time of medieval Macedonia is uncovered.
Abstract paper -b: I here consider emotion within the Middle English Pearl, focusing on recurrent images of Christ’s Passion. These images portray, in unsparing detail, the blood and body of Christ. The emotion which these images evoke, I argue, is an insistent, aching desire for union with that body, a union granted to the Pearl maiden but denied to the dreamer. The poem does not simply answer material longing by substituting spiritual devotion, but rather materializes the spiritual, eliciting this desire. Ultimately, I argue, the medieval emotion of desire was not limited to the material but extended, forcefully, to the spiritual.
Abstract paper -c: In SGGK, Gawain misinterprets gender & evinces feminine emotions and gestures. This mistake is analogous to his linguistic error. Augustine’s concept of human understanding forges a link between the two expressions of gender and language. SGGK adopts Augustine’s heuristic epistemology, advancing a dynamic & inexorable relationship between interpretation, cognition, and morality. Gawain’s female conduct, given his sex, ruptures this tri-partite relationship, contributes to the diminishment of all three, & renders him vulnerable to a form of linguistic rape at the Chapel. The paper ends by assessing how, and whether, Gawain learns to interpret and express gender gestures and words correctly.