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Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, monuments became a focal point: protestors toppled or spray-painted them, even danced on them. These politically, visually, and emotionally potent events may have looked instantaneous, yet frequently sprang from years of activism, as well as protracted political and academic debate. Toppling Things challenges stereotypical notions monument topplings as riotous, spontaneous, or irrational. Bringing together the ideas and emotions, the uncertainty and convictions, of artists, activists, and academics, the volume rejects a neatly tied-up, distant narrative. As it sheds light on the global, personal, immediate, and historical processes around the fall of a monument, the volume engages directly with the complexity of toppling activism and monument removal as a form of lived experience.

Abstract

This introduction situates the discussion of emotion and selfhood in medieval literature in a critical and cultural context, addressing its relevance for postmedieval readers and scholars. It addresses concepts such as performativity, selfhood and emotionality and their importance for the understanding of medieval literature. It furthermore elaborates on the rationale of the special issue and its scope, which extends across Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, Northern France, Flanders and the Netherlands. Finally, it proposes that the literary representation of selfhood is intimately interlinked with emotionality and the staging of literary emotions and introduces a broad range of essays to test this hypothesis across multiple cultural realms, generic forms and literary traditions.

Open Access
In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
Author:

Abstract

This afterword sums up and responds to the articles in the special issue. It notes the variety in representations of the textual self and its constitution through emotion across medieval Northern Europe; representations which nevertheless depend on an imagined body. It also calls attention to the development of ideas of subjectivity and interiority and the ways in which literary experimentation drives social change, ending with a plea to reconsider the association of the medieval period with violence.

In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
Free access
In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society
Author:

Abstract

In the Old Norse-Icelandic literary context, animals are understood to be capable of emotional experience, but they are generally unable to communicate their feelings through a language which people might understand. To resolve this issue and express animal emotionality, Old Norse authors used several strategies: emotion words, inference through behaviour, and emotive gestures, both naturalistic affective responses of animal bodies and affective anthropomorphisation – recognisably human emotive displays. Medieval romance offers a vehicle for cross-cultural comparison: a study of the lion’s tears in the various translations and reinventions of Chrétien’s Yvain further establishes the literary popularity of animal emotionality in the medieval North. Emotive performativity was reformulated through translation and acculturation, acting as a tool for medieval authors to imbue animals with textual subjectivity and literary selfhood. However, there are limitations to the human ability to comprehend animal cognition and emotional experience, and in the Old Norse context, animals textually experience a finite range of emotions, indicating a limited medieval understanding of animal selfhood, with implications for how we understand humanity’s historical subjugation of the nonhuman.

Open Access
In: Emotions: History, Culture, Society

Abstract

In this paper we investigate lexical materials in Latin and Romance that appear to stem from ancient substrata in the Mediterranean. We focus on plant names and landscape related vocabulary, e.g., words for ‘berries’, ‘shrubbery, herbs and trees’, and words for ‘rocky’ and ‘swampy’ terrains, as both of these semantic fields are parts of the lexicon considered to be of very archaic origin. After investigating evidence for potential cognates in languages in the Mediterranean and exploring the geolinguistic distribution of the investigated words, we try to form conclusions about the involved strata and their chronological organization. We identify two important strata: an older Eurafrican layer (Hubschmid 1960) and a widely attested Euskaro-Caucasian layer associated with the arrival of Neolithic farming (see the discussion in Bengtson (2017a/2022, 2017b) and Bengtson/Leschber (2019, 2021, 2022)).

The so-called ‘Mediterranean Thesaurus’ (in memory of Johannes Hubschmid) aims to establish a compilation of lexical data featuring words with unclear or highly disputable etymologies in the languages around the Mediterranean Sea. As a first step, we are collating words in an open-ended table and their geolinguistic/dialect-geographical distribution across the ranges of the Mediterranean languages, some of which are geolinguistically remote areas. We trace two main questions: (a) whether there are characteristic semantic fields that can be more often identified (such as plant names and topography); (b) whether we can highlight typical phonetic features and sound clusters in these words.

Since the period of the Swiss and Italian etymological pioneers of the 20th century (Johannes Hubschmid, Giovanni Alessio, Carlo Battisti, Vittorio Bertoldi, Jakob Jud, Laura Lombardo, Alfredo Trombetti and many others), there has been great scientific progress in human genetics and archaeology that is increasingly revealing the prehistory of the Mediterranean. We recognize the work of these etymologists who – under much more demanding circumstances – offered suggestions about the origin of etymologically difficult words. Several hypotheses have been revisited in order to include or to reject the contribution of a specific substrate to the linguistic substrata of the macro-area. Our aim is to explore the prehistory of the Mediterranean area to understand the ethnogenesis of its peoples and their rootedness in millennia past, and to find evidence for a tentative stratification of substratum languages.

Open Access
In: Old World: Journal of Ancient Africa and Eurasia
The nature of time has haunted humanity through the ages. Some conception of time has always entered into humanity's ideas about mortality and immortality, and permanence and change, so that concepts of time are of fundamental importance in the study of religion, philosophy, literature, history, and mythology. How humanity experiences time physiologically, psychologically and socially enters into the research of the behavioral sciences, and time as a factor of structure and change is an essential consideration in the biological and physical sciences. On one aspect or another, the study of time cuts across all disciplines. The International Society for the Study of Time has as its goal the interdisciplinary and comparative study of time: http://www.studyoftime.org