Ella Kilgallon: Feedback Training school “Passionate Devotions”

Over the course of a three-day workshop, papers on diverse time periods, regions, and with different methodological approaches revealed intersecting ideas and complimentary devotional practices across medieval and early modern Europe. At the same time, each paper highlighted different aspects of the subject of emotion. With regards to my own research, centred on devotional space and emotion, two areas were particularly provoking. Christina Lutter’s analysis of Caesarius of Heisterbach and Andrea Mancini’s discussion of Nicholas of Osimo raised questions of emotional excess and control, encouraging the group to think about acceptable and measured emotions. In particular it led me to question how the protagonists of my own research, Angela of Foligno and Rosa of Viterbo, women without a monastic education, came to understand what appropriate emotional expression was. This has encouraged me to think more systematically about how emotional schemas would have been transferred from clerical thinkers to lay religious, and how these might have been adapted or changed by the individual.

Antonio Chemotti’s paper on funeral polyphony and Rob Lutton’s discussion of the Holy Name of Jesus, among others, highlighted the importance of sound in devotion. The emotive power of sound, whether complex polyphony or simple rhythmic repetition, was evidenced throughout the papers and proceeding discussion. Thinking about the devotional soundscape and how it interacts with devotional space has encouraged me to question how the cell spaces of female tertiaries would have been shaped by sound, or its lack of. Combing an analysis of sound and space will deepen my understanding of the different elements of devotional performance and experience.

Ella  Francesca Kilgallon (e.f.kilgallon@qmul.ac.uk)

This post forms part of an open mini-series published in connection with the COST Action IS1301 Training School “Passionate Devotions. Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Religious Texts, Images and Music” (see announcement with details about submissions here).

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