The Renaissance of Feeling : Erasmus and Emotion

Source : Bloomsbury

Kirk Essary, The Renaissance of Feeling : Erasmus and Emotion, Bloomsbury, 2024.


Offering a re-reading of Erasmus’s works, this book shows that emotion and affectivity were central to his writings. It argues that Erasmus’s conception of emotion was highly complex and richly diverse by tracing how the Dutch humanist writes about emotion not only from different perspectives-theological, philosophical, literary, rhetorical, medical-but also in different genres. In doing so, this book suggests, Erasmus provided a distinctive, if not unique, Christian humanist emotional style.

Demonstrating that Erasmus consulted multiple intellectual traditions and previous works in his thoughts on affectivity, The Renaissance of Feeling sheds light on how understanding emotions in late medieval and early modern Europe was a multi-disciplinary affair for humanist scholars. It argues that the rediscovery and proliferation ancient texts during the so-called renaissance resulted in shifting perspectives on how emotions were described and understood, and on their significance for Christian thought and practice. The book shows how the very availability of source material, coupled with humanists’ eagerness to engage with multiple intellectual traditions gave rise to new understandings of feeling in the 16th century.

Essary shows how Erasmus provides the clearest example of such an intellectual inheritance by examining his writings about emotion across much of his vast corpus, including literary and rhetorical works, theological treatises, textual commentaries, religious disputations, and letters. Considering the rich and diverse ways that Erasmus wrote about emotions and affectivity, this book provides a new lens to study his works and sheds light on how emotions were understood in early modern Europe.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Erasmus and the Intellectual History of Emotion
1. Comic and Tragic Feeling: The Emotions of Classical Literature
2. Bind this Proteus: Transforming the Ancient Philosophy of Feeling
3. Biblical Emotions I: Affective Theology and the New Testament
4. Biblical Emotions II: Stomachs, Strings, and Synecdoche in the Psalms
5. Passionate Preaching: Affective Rhetoric in the Pulpit
6. Epistolary Emotions: Authenticity, Exile, and Consolation
7. ‘Always Breathing Tragedy’: Luther and the Violent Emotions

Epilogue: ‘Philistines Foaming at the Mouth’

Citer ce billet
Damien Boquet (2024, 19 janvier). The Renaissance of Feeling : Erasmus and Emotion. Les émotions au Moyen Âge, carnet d'EMMA. Consulté le 22 mai 2024, à l’adresse