Public lecture “Croatian medieval literature and the history of emotions“
Josip Vučković, a member of the Center of Excellence for Croatian Glagolism, gave a public lecture on the prospect of the history of emotions for advancing the study of medieval Croatian literature. The lecture was organized by the Association of Friends of Glagolitic Script and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute in Zagreb on 4 March 2015 in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Institute.
The history of emotions has become an important topic in social, cultural and intellectual history. The increase of interest in emotions in the past is probably due to the intensive research on emotions in modern sciences such as psychology, neuroscience, and anthropology, if not even to the status of emotions as a topic in media and everyday conversations. However, considering the decisive role of emotions in human life and social relations, it seems that the history of emotions is not merely a fashionable scholarly indulgence. On the contrary, emotions are increasingly seen as a factor that must be taken into consideration even by historians who are not primarily interested in emotions as a topic on its own.
The history of emotions has also attracted many scholars trained in disciplines other than history. For example, literary historians are increasingly interested in tracing changes in the conventional ways of representing emotions in literature, as well as strategies used by writers in order to emotionally engage their intended audience. Some of this research is of vital importance to the history of emotions in general. Namely, in a number of instances literature is recognized as an important mean by which emotional habitus was transformed and sustained.
In Croatia, the history of emotions has not yet attracted significant interest of the scholarly community, even though several Croatian linguists, literary historians, and cultural anthropologists did respond to the recent “emotional turn“. The purpose of this lecture was to introduce the general audience to the main topics and approaches in the history of emotions. Along the way, the usefulness of the history of emotions for experts in the medieval Croatian literature was demonstrated. This was done by using extracts from the medieval Croatian apocrypha, didactic prose, poetry and Passion plays.