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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 815: Emotion Terms, Emotion Signs

Tuesday 11 July 2006, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:E. Ann Matter, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Paper 815-aSeeing Red: The Colour of Emotion in Medieval Literature
(Language: English)
Michelle Reichert, Institut Universitaire Rachi, Troyes
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - Italian
Paper 815-bLove, Hatred, and Revenge amongst Heretics
(Language: English)
Yvette Debergue, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Sydney
Index terms: Gender Studies, Religious Life
Paper 815-cForbidden Sympathy: Hagiographic Method and Authorized Response
(Language: English)
Britt Mize, Department of English, California State University, Long Beach
Index terms: Hagiography, Language and Literature - Middle English, Religious Life

Abstract paper -a: This paper explores the ways in which the colour red is used in the amorous discourses of Andalusi Sufi mysticism, and the poetry of writers such as Ibn Hazm and Ibn Arabi. It demonstrates that the appropriation of this colour symbolism by certain writers beyond the Pyrenees resulted in 1) its recasting to negatively represent Muslim society, and feelings of racial hatred (ed. Siège de Barbastro and the Chanson de Roland), and 2) a continuation of this Andalusi expression of amorous discourse in terms of the colour red by such writers as Chrétien de Troyes and Dante.

Abstract paper -b: This paper examines some of the emotions provoked by the Inquisition into Heretical Depravity, which swept through Languedoc in Southern France in the wake of the Albigensian Crusade. Despite the invariably formulaic ritual of question and answer detailed in the manuscripts of the Inquisition, there are many discernible emotions amongst the thousands of witnesses whose words were recorded. Family members displayed much love, hatred, fear, despair, disdain, and sometimes outright contempt for their friends and relations, who were sometimes fellow Cathars, and sometimes firmly anti-Catharist. Such intense emotions led to astounding gestures of generosity and formidable acts of revenge.

Abstract paper -c: Why does St Margaret rebuke observers of her spectacular martyrdom for weeping in pity for her? This episode in lives of Margaret is a very informative moment as to the role of emotion in hagiography. I argue that this genre typically asserts the 'primacy of witness': emphasis on the subjectivity not of saints, but of those who encounter them. I link this tendency to the role of vitae as authenticating documents for cultic practice. Saints, experienced by the devout most immediately as material relics, are objectified narratively, too; fellow-feeling is forbidden, because sympathy for a martyr like Margaret is at odds with her essential dismemberment and enshrinement.