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IMC 2015: Sessions

Session 821: Elusive Affection

Tuesday 7 July 2015, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Amy Brown, University of Sydney
Moderator/Chair:Valerie B. Johnson, Department of English, University of Maryland, College Park
Paper 821-aSir Lancelot in the Friend Zone: Strategies for Offering and Limiting Affection in the Stanzaic Morte Arthur
(Language: English)
Amy Brown, University of Sydney
Index terms: Gender Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English, Mentalities
Paper 821-bCharting Affection: Monastic Charters and Aristocratic Sociability in 11th-Century Brittany
(Language: English)
Regan Eby, Department of History, Boston College, Massachusetts
Paper 821-c'A great chaser of a gentlewoman': Male Bonding in 15th-Century Letters
(Language: English)
Rachel E. Moss, Université de Paris I
Index terms: Mentalities, Social History

What is affection? Can we reliably locate or describe the features of affection between medieval persons, real or fictional? Love of God, romantic love, and love between monastic peers or loyal knights: these and other kinds of love are well attested across the range of medieval sources and periods, but historians of friendship recognise the difficulty of bridging the gap between felt affection and the literary tropes of love. Love might be spoken or written of in situations where the parties were unlikely to feel positively toward one another, such as in reconciliations and peace treaties. In other cases, sources might borrow from the scripts of romance, friendship at court, or family in order to characterise a peculiar relationship, such as an opposite-sex friendship. Some forms of affection might be indicated without reference to the vocabulary of love at all. The papers in this panel will address the history of affection, unconventional affectionate bonds, or approaches to situations in which we have insufficient data for firm conclusions concerning the presence or absence of affection in lived experience.