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Female honour in later medieval England

How can one know if a woman is honourable? In medieval culture, female honour rested most heavily on one thing: sexual continence, or chastity. But how could one be absolutely sure if a given woman was chaste? Practising Shame demonstrates how, in the literature of later medieval England, female honour is a matter of emotional practice and performance – it requires learning how to ‘feel’ in a specific way. In order to safeguard their chastity, women were encouraged to cultivate hypervigilance against the possibility of sexual shame through a combination of inward reflection and outward comportment. Often termed ‘shamefastness’, this practice was believed to reinforce women’s chastity of mind and body, and to communicate that chastity to others through a combination of conventional gestures. At the same time, however, medieval anxiety concerning the potentially misleading nature of appearances rendered these gestures suspect – after all, if good conduct could be learned, then it could also be counterfeited. Practising Shame uncovers the paradoxes and complications that emerged out of the emotional practices linked to female honour, as well as some of the unexpected ways in which those practices might be reappropriated by male authors. Written at the intersection of literary studies, gender studies, and the history of emotions, this book transforms our understanding of the ethical construction of femininity in the past and provides a new framework for thinking about honourable womanhood now and in the years to come.

Before She Met Me
Peter Childs

), and a woman whose mature attitude to sex contrasts with those of the men (Ann, an ex-actress and Graham’s second wife). The main themes of the novel concern the relationship between reason and passion at a particular point in social history, advocating how the 1960s changed sexual manners but not feelings, and emphasising how difficult it can be to control primitive but unwanted emotions. The action of the novel takes place in 1981 when Graham is 42 and Ann is 35. This is four years after they first met at a party in 1977, when Graham was

in Julian Barnes
Swinburne, Eliot, Drinkwater
Catherine Maxwell

, because his emotion is never particular, never in direct line of vision, never focused’, and, in support of this, he quotes from ‘The Triumph of Time’: There lived a singer in France of old By the tideless, dolorous, midland sea. In a land of sand and ruin and gold There shone one woman, and

in Algernon Charles Swinburne
The failure and success of a Swedish film diversity initiative
Mara Lee Gerdén

privilege –​which emotions can be articulated, and by whom –​and materialised the figure of what I term ‘the invulnerable body of colour’, i.e. the illusory but common belief that a brown or black body is less sentient/​sensitive than a white body. Thereby, it enabled a reconceptualising of pain as a ‘racial emotion’, which I  consider as one of the major outcomes of the Fusion Programme. This reconceptualisation in the context of the arts allows a further exploration of how to avoid the commodification of ‘the pain of others’ (Sontag, 2003) and instead the turning to a

in The power of vulnerability
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Mary C. Flannery

and on another side by the possibility of violence, female shamefastness remains an unfinishable work-in-progress in medieval literature. Practice and the history of emotions Shamefastness is not an emotion, but is rather a disposition towards and susceptibility to shame: a state of vigilance that simultaneously guards one against shame and makes one more sensitive to it. Medieval literature reveals shamefastness to be a mandatory matter of practice for honourable women, something to be interiorized through reflection and

in Practising shame
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Carl Lavery

come forward and spray-paint their crimes on the screens. CL : And yet, despite that there are also moments of great hope and affirmation in Genet’s plays. Perhaps, it’s to do with the colour and the scale? UL : For all the difficult emotions felt by the actors in The Blacks Remixed , there was a real sense of solidarity and affection in the Theatre Royal during the run. There is a cathartic process at work in Genet. Despite all the anger and aggression, the play takes you somewhere else, somewhere more positive. That doesn’t mean that it stops you questioning

in The politics of Jean Genet’s late theatre
Open Access (free)
Jonathan Atkin

mutual appreciation of the thoughts and teachings of the academic and philosopher G.E. Moore led them to form lasting friendships, became the kernel of what would become labelled ‘the Bloomsbury Group’. It was, as one academic described, ‘a nucleus from which civilisation has spread outwards’.2 This rippling effect, though temporarily dammed by the keenly-felt constrictions of the war, would continue to flow outwards through the twentieth century, inspiring, as is well known, much analysis and interpretation along the way. The emotions of Bloomsbury mirrored to a large

in A war of individuals
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John Kinsella

meant a hierarchy of form. Poetry as an emotional pamphleteering. As a placebo. The difficulty for the lyric in conveying ‘emotional’ content is that it cannot be effective if the material is not carefully controlled. The looser this control, the less we can accept the genuineness of the emotions. Anti-war poetry in particular relies on the credibility of the emotional distress in the face of war’s horror. Does Leon Gellert say what we think he says in ‘If You Were Here’? Or is he displacing, insofar as this poem is actually an extended metaphor for the isolation and

in Disclosed poetics
Erik Svarny

disengagement that earned Huxley’s fiction its reputation for ‘cynicism’ has its roots in the formative effect of extreme and tragic emotion on a sensitive nature. However, the glib critical label of ‘cynicism’ – ‘scepticism’ is a more accurate term – fails to perceive that there is a good deal of often painful emotion in Huxley’s fiction; it is just not integrated within its discursive economy. Henceforth

in Gender and warfare in the twentieth century
Enduring Love
Dominic Head

, p. 18) The terror, guilt and helplessness of this nightmare, from Joe’s formative adult years, are the components of his social self – understood as an identity in which the balance between self- and communal interest is more than the product of simple pragmatism. The terror is simultaneously fear for oneself, but also horror at the (shared) sense of human frailty; and it is that sense of empathy – an emotion that precedes rational thought – that engenders the feeling of pathos, and the guilt and helplessness that go with it. Of course, one can seek to supply a

in Ian McEwan