Tous les articles par Damien Boquet

Le genre des émotions

Source : Clio

Couverture Clio 47

Les émotions sont souvent considérées comme un puissant marqueur de genre, jouant un rôle central dans les délimitations culturelles et sociales du masculin et du féminin, les hommes étant considérés comme plus rationnels et maîtrisant mieux leurs émotions que les femmes. Ce stéréotype mérite d’être dépassé en le confrontant à des représentations et à des pratiques bien plus complexes, en refusant d’opposer raison et émotion, en dénaturalisant les émotions et en déconstruisant les stéréotypes de genre. Nous menant de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine au Soudan contemporain en passant par le Moyen Âge, la Révolution française ou la Grande Guerre, ce numéro de Clio se propose donc de revisiter l’articulation entre émotion et différence des sexes en historicisant ces concepts, en identifiant socialement les acteurs, en étant très attentif au contexte documentaire, en prenant en compte l’ensemble des émotions et en interrogeant simultanément le masculin et le féminin. Il permet finalement d’observer ce que le genre fait aux émotions et ce que les émotions font au genre.

Damien Boquet et Didier Lett Les émotions à l’épreuve du genre [Texte intégral]

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Boiardo innamorato. Passione e fantasia in versi

Source : Unimore

Modena e Scandiano ricordano il Boiardo venerdì 12 e sabato 13 ottobre

Il Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali di Unimore, in collaborazione con il Centro Studi Matteo Maria Boiardo di Scandiano (RE), promuove due giornate di studio su Matteo Maria Boiardo, il famoso letterato italiano del Quattrocento, dal titolo “ Boiardo Innamorato. Passione e fantasia in versi ”. I lavori inizieranno venerdì 12 ottobre, alle ore 10.00, presso l’Aula Magna del Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali (Largo Sant’Eufemia, 19) a Modena e proseguiranno sabato 13 ottobre, alle ore 11.00, presso la Rocca dei Boiardo (Viale della Rocca) a Scandiano (RE).

Il titolo del convegno “Boiardo innamorato” è un gioco di parole che ricorda non soltanto il poema più conosciuto del poeta nativo di Scandiano (Orlando innamorato), ma allude anche alla dimensione fantastica e meravigliosa delle passioni amorose.  L’iniziativa si inserisce nel progetto di ricerca “Narrare le passioni in Europa”, coordinato dalla dott.ssa Elisabetta Menetti, ricercatrice di Unimore, e vuole essere un’occasione per riflettere sulla funzione sociale della lettura dei classici italiani nella nostra contemporaneità.

Il programma dei lavori prevede il saluto di apertura del prof. Lorenzo Bertucelli, prossimo Direttore del Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali di Unimore, cui seguirà la prima sessione di attività introdotta e presieduta dalla dott.ssa Elisabetta Menetti, che spiegherà le ragioni del convegno. Interverrà il libraio antiquario Fabrizio Govi, che presenterà per la prima volta al pubblico la pregiatissima edizione a stampa di Nicolò Zoppino del 1521 (Libri tre de Orlando inamorato del Conte de Scandiano Mattheo Maria Boiardo) con la prosecuzione di Nicolò Degli Agostini ( Incomincia il quarto libro de lo innamoramento de Orlando). Seguiranno gli interventi di Maria Cristina Cabani (Università di Pisa) su Scene d’amore nell’ Inamoramento; Alessio Decaria (Università di Siena) su «Non è nel mondo magior passïone». Appunti sulla gelosia nell’ Inamoramento de Orlando; Tiziano Zanato (Università di Venezia) su Antonia, o del pensier fole; Sara Belotti (Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia) su Raccontare il territorio attraverso le mappe. La cartografia ai tempi del Boiardo. La seconda sessione, che avrà inizio alle ore 14.00, sarà presieduta dalla prof.ssa Cristina Montagnani dell’Università di Ferrara. Seguiranno le comunicazioni di Elisa Curti (Università di Venezia) su Boiardo furioso: rabbia e ira nell’ Inamoramento de Orlando; Giuseppe Ledda (Università di Bologna) su Boiardo e il bestiario delle passioni; Tina Matarrese (Università di Ferrara) su «Non è in somma amor, se non insania»: dall’ira furiosa alla pazzia; Andrea Severi (Università di Bologna) su «Deliberarno la lor passïone / cantando l’uno a l’altro far palese»: la bucolica “fervida e passionata” di Matteo Maria Boiardo.

Chiuderà i lavori di questa prima giornata il concerto del Collegium “In Armonia Salus”: danze e musiche amorose tra il XV e il XVI (Clara Fanticini, violino; Michele Gaddi, clavicembalo; Francesco Gibellini, cornetto; Flavio Spotti, percussioni).

La seconda giornata di studi si terrà sabato 13 ottobre a Scandiano (RE), presso la Rocca dei Boiardo, avrà inizio alle ore 11.00, con i saluti del Sindaco di Scandiano, Alessio Mammi, e dell’Assessore ai Saperi, Alberto Pighini. In questa sessione conclusiva, presieduta dalla professoressa Tina Matarrese dell’Università di Ferrara, si inseriscono gli interventi di Davide Dalmas (Università di Torino) su Le passioni raccontate; Cristina Montagnani (Università di Ferrara) su La magia del potere: Boiardo e le politiche estensi.

Le due giornate di Modena e di Scandiano, rivolte a studiosi e appassionati del Boiardo, agli studenti universitari e delle scuole superiori, sono riconosciute come aggiornamento scientifico degli insegnanti di letteratura italiana.

Stories of Psychology – The History of Emotions

Source : eventbrite

Description

The annual Stories of Psychology public event on aspects of the history of psychology takes its theme this year as ‘The History of Emotions’.

The event is aimed at a general audience so will be of interest not only to psychologists and historians but also to anyone with an interest in emotions.

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Paul Sullivan (Bradford University)
  • Prof. Fraser Watts (University of Lincoln)
  • Dr. Sally Holloway (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dr. Sarah Chaney (Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary)
  • Dr. Richard Firth-Godbehere (Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary)
  • Dr. Tiffany Watt-Smith (Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary)
  • Prof. Thomas Dixon (Centre for the History of the Emotions, Queen Mary)

Following the speakers there will also be a panel discussion

The registration fee includes welcome refreshments and a light buffet lunch.

Event webpage: www.bps.org.uk/stories

Le genre des émotions

Séminaire de présentation du dernier numéro de la revue Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire (47, 2018) consacré au Genre des émotions, le mercredi 10 octobre à la MMSH d’Aix-en-Provence, 10h-12h, salle Paul-Albert Février. Cette présentation sera suivie d’une communication d’Emmanuel Bain (AMU, CNRS TELEMMe) : « Le féminin, le voile et la honte dans le discours ecclésiastique (XIIe-XIIIe siècle) ».

Affection in ancient Greece and Rome

Source : IEA Paris

Table ronde autour de l’ouvrage de David Konstan (résident 2016-2017 de l’IEA de Paris), In the Orbit of Love. Affection in Ancient Greece and Rome (Oxford University Press, 2018), en présence de l’auteur et avec la participation de Pia Campeggiani (résidente 2018-2019 de l’IEA de Paris)  et Olivier Renaut (Université Paris Nanterre).

Présentation de l’ouvrage

This book is about love in the classical world – not erotic passion but the kind of love that binds together intimate members of a family and very close friends, but which may also be extended to include a wider range of individuals for whom we care deeply. The book begins with a discussion of friendship, focusing particularly on the Greek notion that in friendship the identities of two friends all but merge into one. The book then turns to the question of loyalty, and why loyalty seems not to have achieved the status of a virtue in classical thought. The next chapter considers love in relation to generosity, favors, and gratitude. There follows a discussion of grief, which is a symptom of the loss of a loved one. The final chapter treats love as the basis of civic solidarity. In each case, love is at the basis of the relations under examination. In this, the book departs from the more usual analysis of these affective ties in terms of reciprocity, which in one way or another involves an expectation of return. Seen this way, such relationships seem to have a selfish or at least self-centered dimension, as distinct from truly other-regarding attitudes. While it is true that the ancient sources sometimes describe these relations, including friendship, as forms of mutual obligation, there is also a counter strand that emphasizes genuine altruism, and it is this aspect that the book seeks to bring out. A close look at how love drew into its orbit the various relations examined in this book may shed light on some central features not only of ancient habits of thought but also, it is to be hoped, our own.

Moyen Âge en émoi (appel à contributions)

Source : RMBLF.be

Neuvièmes journées internationales d’études médiévales des Jeunes Chercheurs Médiévistes de l’Université de Genève & de la Conférence universitaire de Suisse occidentale
4-5 mars 2019

Loin d’être un sujet d’enquête des seuls médiévistes contemporains, la composante émotionnelle était déjà au cœur des préoccupations de l’homme médiéval. Que l’on considère le domaine de la théologie, celui de la littérature religieuse ou profane, les sources relatant la vie politique ou encore la production artistique, l’implication des émotions n’est étrangère à aucun de ces secteurs de la médiévistique.

Depuis une vingtaine d’années, l’intérêt porté à ce champ d’études a également suscité une littérature conséquente pour la période médiévale. Rappelons la parution de plusieurs ouvrages d’importance en 2015, du fait notamment de Barbara Rosenwein ou encore de Damien Boquet et de Piroska Nagy.

Les angles d’approche des émotions sont aussi variés que les études fournies à leur propos. La lexicographie permet d’aborder l’émotion médiévale de manière tout à fait pertinente: la variété terminologique convoquée par les auctoritates antiques et chrétiennes est représentative de la difficulté toute actuelle à définir ce concept. Toujours dans une perspective définitoire, la question de l’orientation morale de l’émotion constitue un passage obligé pour l’appréhender, aussi bien à sa naissance – la notion d’intention la présidant s’avère en ce sens essentielle – que dans ses manifestations – qu’elles soient corporelles ou verbales. Sous l’influence des philosophes de l’Antiquité ou des Pères de l’Église s’élabore en effet un véritable code de savoir-vivre émotionnel dicté par un important souci de gestion de soi, indispensable à la valorisation de l’affect. À cette réflexion se superpose d’emblée celle qu’induit la perception des mouvements de l’âme, directement associée à leurs signes visibles, seule voie d’accès possible à l’intériorité.

En outre, l’étude des manifestations conduit à considérer les multiples enjeux de la maîtrise des émotions, la frontière entre contrôle de soi et performance en soi s’avérant parfois bien mince. Le Moyen Âge fut en ce sens riche en rituels et mises en scène émotionnels, particulièrement dans des contextes politiques ou religieux. La prédication constitue à elle seule un champ d’analyse propice à la dynamique performative. Dans les textes, cette volonté s’exprime à travers différentes stratégies discursives mobilisées, qui visent à exacerber ou au contraire à atténuer la sensibilité du public. L’image religieuse revêt également une importance particulière puisqu’elle se doit de toucher le fidèle, suscitant notamment en lui de la componction. La dimension affective de la piété médiévale amène donc à considérer l’image de dévotion en tant que déclencheur d’émotion. Enfin, les procédures judiciaires constituent une piste de réflexion intéressante pour saisir les stratégies permettant de moduler la vérité. Dans la continuité, l’émotion orientée offre également une ouverture contemporaine vers son recours dans le discours scientifique actuel, en ce qu’elle peut servir de levier au débat.

Le caractère immatériel de l’émotion constitue un défi pour les médiévistes : cette rencontre propose aux jeunes chercheurs venus de différents horizons disciplinaires de le relever, en explorant les outils et les ressources de ce champ de la recherche en pleine efflorescence.

Les propositions de contribution, d’une demi-page environ, accompagnées de renseignements pratiques (statut, institution de rattachement, domaine de recherche) sont à envoyer au format PDF avant le 1er décembre 2018 à l’adresse suivante : journeesetudesjcm@gmail.com. Un comité scientifique procédera à la sélection des communications.

Vient de paraître : Christine Orobitg, Le Sang en Espagne

Source : PUP

Christine Orobitg, Le sang en Espagne. Trésor de vie, vecteur de l’être Ve-XVIIIe siècles, Aix-en-Provence, PUP, 2018.

Le sang fascine. Encore aujourd’hui, il renferme une charge d’émotion et de mystère, qui trouve ses racines dans les anciens systèmes de représentation, de la fin du Moyen Age au XVIIIe siècle. L’ancienne médecine inscrit le sang dans le système des quatre humeurs et en fait un véritable «trésor de vie». Elle l’associe aux «esprits» -qui constituent l’interface entre l’âme et le corps-, au cœur, aux émotions. Le sang est également relié aux questions de genre et d’identité sexuelle. Le sang féminin ne vaut pas le sang masculin. Le sang menstruel, objet d’une véritable mythologie, est associé la souillure, au déchet et au poison. Mais le sang est aussi à la base d’un aliment aussi essentiel que symbolique, le lait, évoqué dans les discours dédiés à l’allaitement et au choix des nourrices. Le sang ne relève pas uniquement du domaine sanitaire : sa représentation convoque des notions-clés comme l’articulation entre le corps et l’âme, la définition et la transmission de l’identité. Il intervient dans la construction d’un véritable « déterminisme hématologique » -dans lequel les caractéristiques physiques et morales se transmettent par le sang-, dans des pratiques d’exclusion, mais aussi dans des discours de tolérance et de la solidarité. Cette rapide évocation des perceptions et des enjeux du sang révèle la densité et la complexité des représentations qui y sont associées. C’est cet héritage ancien, mais jamais oublié, que cet ouvrage se propose d’explorer.

P. Maddern, J. McEwan, A. M. Scott (eds.), Performing Emotions in Early Europe

Source : Brepols

P. Maddern, J. McEwan, A. M. Scott (eds.), Performing Emotions in Early Europe, Brepols, 2018.

Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary approaches and innovative methodologies, this collection contributes ground-breaking new scholarship in the burgeoning field of emotions studies by examining how medieval and early modern Europeans communicated and ‘performed’ their emotions. Rejecting the notion that emotions are ‘essential’ or ‘natural’, this volume seeks to pay particular attention to cultural understandings of emotion by examining how they were expressed and conveyed in a wide range of historical situations. The contributors investigate the performance and reception of pre-modern emotions in a variety of contexts — in literature, art, and music, as well as through various social and religious performances — and in a variety of time periods ranging from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. These studies provide both case-studies of particular emotions and emotional negotiations, and examinations of how their categorisation, interpretation, and meaning has changed over time.

The contributors provide new insights into the expression and performance of pre-modern emotions from a wide range of disciplinary fields, including historical studies, literature, art history, musicology, gender studies, religious studies, and philosophy. Collectively, they theorise the performativity of medieval and early modern emotions and outline a new approach that takes fuller account of the historical specificity and cultural meanings of emotions at particular points in time.

This volume forms a companion to Understanding Emotions in Early Europe, edited by Michael Champion and Andrew Lynch (2015); http://www.brepols.net/Pages/ShowProduct.aspx?prod_id=IS-9782503552644-1

Table of Contents

Introduction: Performing Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds — PHILIPPA MADDERN, JOANNE MCEWAN and ANNE M. SCOTT

Part I: Emotional Performativity in Music, Literature and the Visual Arts

Emotion, Time and Music at Cambrai Cathedral — MATTHEW CHAMPION

‘Affecting glory from vices’: Negotiating Shame in Prostitution Texts, 1660–1750 — EMILY COCK

Pageant, Spectacle, Dread and Love in Piers Plowman, Brueghel’s Triumph of Death and the Good Samaritan Window of Bourges Cathedral — ANNE M. SCOTT

Affected Bodies and Bodily Affect: Visualizing Emotion in Renaissance Plague Images — LOUISE MARSHALL

Part II: Social Performance

The ‘Slime of Vice’ and the ‘Passions of the Mind’: Emotional Histories in the Anglo-Norman World — LINDSAY DIGGELMANN

Courting Nassau Affections: Performing Love in Orange-Nassau Marriage Negotiations — SUSAN BROOMHALL and JACQUELINE VAN GENT

‘[D]id ringe at oure parish churche… for joye that the Queene of Skotts … was beheaded’: Public Performances of Early Modern English Emotions — DOLLY MACKINNON

Part III: Religious Performance

Emotion, Place and Memory at the Royal Abbey of St Denis — MEGAN CASSIDY-WELCH

Boosting the Emotional Power of New Liturgy: The Hidden Sides of Things in Giotto’s Crib at Greccio — RICHARD READ

Discursive Affect and Emotional Prescriptiveness: On the ‘Man of Sorrows’ in Fourteenth-Century Italian Painting — LACHLAN TURNBULL

Martin Luther’s Heart — SUSAN C. KARANT-NUNN

Part IV: Recreating Emotional Performance

‘Laughing at Death’: Emotional Excess in The Duchess of Malfi in Performance — STEVE CHINNA

Index

B. Grigoriu, Talent / maltalent. La culture des émotions au seuil de la littérature française

Source : Brepols

B. Grigoriu
Talent / maltalent. La culture des émotions au seuil de la littérature française, Brepols, 2018

Face au manuscrit roman médiéval, face à l’œuvre francophone qui s’en dégage en quittant sa peau latine, il est loisible de rendre son droit de cité à l’émotion : même si les humains qui ont façonné les premiers émotifs français sont morts depuis des siècles, même si les sciences humaines s’entraînent à les enterrer scientifiquement, il reste une place pour le vécu fictionnel, et ce vécu est riche en vies possibles ; il suffit d’interroger le mode d’emploi des affects, tel qu’il se dégage de chacun de ces récits fondateurs.

S’inscrivant dans l’histoire des affects, le livre propose une relecture des premiers récits français sous le signe des polarités émotionnelles médiévales du « talent » et du « maltalent ».

À l’époque de leur première réception, la Cantilène de sainte Eulalie, la Vie de saint Alexis, la Chanson de Roland et le Roman de Thèbes étaient des œuvres fermées, des textes de plaisir. Pour le lecteur du XXIe siècle, ils deviennent un beau défi jouissif. Ainsi, les détails qui débordent le cadre théologique se révèlent nombreux et savoureux : Maximien réussit son coup d’épée contre Eulalie, la « pucelle » d’Alexis parvient à consommer son mariage céleste, Charlemagne boude Gabriel, Jocaste frôle le rôle d’entremetteuse pour faire la paix par l’amour… et les mondes s’entrechoquent, ambigument possibles.

L’étude aborde les styles émotionnels, les actes émotifs, les normes affectives et les communautés responsables des « émotionologies » de ces textes liminaires de la littérature française, où les personnages font de Dieu un acte émotif de plus en plus dépouillé. Du nom à l’interjection, de la foi à l’émotion, c’est l’histoire d’une véritable émancipation qui s’écrit, en initiant, à fleur de texte, une désacralisation progressive des affects.

Brindusa Grigoriu est docteure en langues et littératures anciennes à l’Université de Poitiers, et maître de conférences à l’Université Alexandru Ioan Cuza de Iași, Roumanie.  Elle est l’auteure de plusieurs articles et ouvrages consacrés au corpus narratif médiéval : Actes d’émotion, pactes d’initiation: le spectre des fabliaux, Craiova, Universitaria, 2015 ; Amor sans desonor. Une pragmatique pour Tristan et Yseut, Craiova, Universitaria, 2013 ; co-édition et introduction au Lai du Conseil, University of Liverpool, Liverpool Online Series, 2013.

Table of Contents

Introduction au talent

I. Sous le signe du talent. Émotions historiques

1. Talent d’écriture

2. Talent de vérité

3. Talent de littérature

II. L’homme devant Dieu. Émotions hagiographiques

1. Une émotionologie virginale : Eulalie

2. Une émotionologie nuptiale : Alexis

3. Maltalent : l’émotionologie de Roland

III. Le couple devant Dieu. Les premières émotions romanesques

Du roman au romanesque : une nouvelle culture émotionnelle

1. Œdipe et Jocaste : amours familiales

2. Les fils de l’inceste et les ratages de l’amour

3. Les filles de l’inceste. Couples de par Dieu ?

En guise de conclusion : L’émotion Dieu au seuil de la littérature française

Bibliographie

Colloque – « De bone amour vient science et bonté »

Source :

Colloque – « De bone amour vient science et bonté ». Le contact liminaire entre savoirs éthico-scientifiques et doctrine amoureuse au Moyen Âge

L’organisation interne des manuscrits-recueils suscite des nombreuses questions ainsi qu’un intérêt constant auprès de la critique. Le critère de composition de ces supports échappe cependant très souvent à la logique du lecteur contemporain, qui ne trouve pas davantage d’explications dans les éditions critiques. Visant le texte dans son unité, le risque encouru de l’extraire du contexte de sa transmission est inévitable.

Cette Journée d’études s’interroge sur les liens entre la doctrine amoureuse et la matière scientifique dans les recueils médiévaux, cherchant à saisir le rôle liminaire de certains textes à la nature floue et proposant une approche d’enquête du texte dans son contexte.

Programme :

10:00 Anna Maria Babbi, Università degli Studi di Verona – Ouverture

10:30 Christopher Lucken, Université Paris VIII – Université de Genève – Entre amour et savoir: le Bestiaire d’amour à la croisée des discours d’après la tradition manuscrite
11:00 Nicolò Premi, Università degli Studi di Verona / EPHE – Médecine, dévotion et morale: le Régime du corps et ses transformations dans la tradition
manuscrite
11:30 Valeria Russo, Università degli Studi di Padova / Université Paris-Sorbonne – Un amour idéal et une science sentimentale: Dou vrai chiment d’amours
12:00 Discussion
12:30 Pause déjeuner

14:30 Marco Maulu, Università degli Studi di Sassari – Les Sept sages de Rome:
histoire d’une oeuvre et de sa réception en Occident à travers sa tradition manuscrite
15:00 Nicole Bergk Pinto, Université Libre de Bruxelles / École Nationale des Chartes – Le Tournoiement Antecrist dans ses contextes manuscrits. Organisation
et dialogues des œuvres au sein des recueils
15:30 Discussion

16:00 Sylvie Lefèvre, Université Paris-Sorbonne – Conclusions

Informations pratiques :

Venerdì 11 maggio 2018

Aula Seminari, terzo piano • Palazzo di Lettere
via San Francesco, 22 – Verona

Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus

Source : Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.04.32

Compte rendu de lecture


Eirene Visvardi, Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus. Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Roman language and literature, 377.   Leiden; Boston:  Brill, 2015.  Pp. x, 287.  ISBN 9789004269293.  $149.00.

Reviewed by J. L. Rosenberg, Academy of Art University (jrosenbe4@i.art.edu)

 

Visvardi has developed her 2007 Stanford doctoral dissertation into an analysis of collective emotion as conveyed by Thucydides and by the surviving fifth-century tragedians. The former is confined to chapter 2, the latter to chapters 3 and 4; chapter 1 is the theoretical frame for the book. There is a brief coda at the end. Despite the subtitle, Thucydides is second in Visvardi’s mind; indeed, he is a lens on the tragic chorus rather than a focus in his own right (35). Ultimately, this disparity leaves the most robust questions—inter alia, how did Thucydides’ description and characterization of collective civic emotion interact with tragic instances of “choral emotion”?—unanswered.

The first chapter begins by acknowledging the groundswell of publications on emotion in the ancient world.1 Visvardi characterizes fifth-century Athens as “a culture of emotions” (2) or “a culture of passions…Athenians explicitly give emotion a prominent place in their public discourses and decisions” (3). Aristotle is adduced as a heuristic, despite, as Visvardi acknowledges (17), largely bypassing the chorus’ role in his Poetics.2 A special focus is placed on “choral otherness” (22 and n. 58)—building on the work of Helene Foley—as in the chorus of the Hippolytus (and later in the monograph, on the Supplices and on the Bacchae). The crux of the work and the justification for the title is the claim that “tragedy has the power to move the audience not as ‘rationalistic spectators’ who individually pick apart ambiguities in the plays’ civic discourse but as a body that responds emotionally en masse” (30).3 This is the explicit form of link between tragedy and our understanding of the Athenian δῆμος acting formally qua civic institution and informally as a crowd of voices or, in Thucydides’ sharper moods, an ὄχλος. The chorus is both exemplar and preceptor of collective behavior—an extension of the role of μίμησις in the Poetics (1448b passim).

This framework is flawed, and so tarnishes many of Visvardi’s sensitive readings of the plays, notably an excellent sustained analysis of δείνον in the Bacchae (213–38). The concept of “choral otherness” assumes a homogenous audience, and really one composed of citizen men only, but this is a fantasy long abandoned.4 It is difficult to construe otherness in a play such as Persians, in which Other and Self commingle. It is difficult to accept that “a lot of Athenian citizens in the audience were experienced in choral dancing” (29). Were that true, how should that affect our understanding of choral otherness? This is not explored. Visvardi further claims (ibid.) that, regarding the chorus, “otherness does not forestall empathy”, though this seems a near-perfect oxymoron. Visvardi splits tragic choruses into “active” and “passive”—this is indeed the means of dividing chapters 3 and 4—though this seems less to be an operative variation within the genre than a chronological development of it.5 In short, these contradictions compromise the very premise of the study.

Chapter 2 addresses some of the rich dramatic subtext in Thucydides: demos-as-chorus, Pericles-as-choregos, the treatments of the Plague and of the debates over Mytilene and Sicily as essentially tragic, and so on. This is the strongest chapter in the book, as it gathers together several strands of Thucydidean scholarship from the past twenty years or so. The most characteristic section is perhaps the treatment of the Mytilenean debate (73–83). Thucydides takes us swiftly from the hasty decision of the Athenians (καὶ ὑπὸ ὀργῆς ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖς, and in anger they decided III.36.2) to kill or to enslave the Mytilineans, to their regret (καὶ τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ μετάνοιά τις εὐθὺς ἦν αὐτοῖς, and straightaway the next day there was a change of their mind III.36.4), through the speeches of Diodotus and Cleon (III.38.4) and finally to the Athenians’ final decision, following Diodotus, to reverse their initial death-sentence (III.49.1). The second trireme, goaded by the cakes and prayers of the Mytilinean ambassadors, overtakes the first just barely and happily ever after. This is nothing if not staged.

Visvardi focuses on the rhetoric of the two orators (here the work of Ed Sanders would have been particularly illuminating), rightly summarizing that Cleon advocates the virtue of the gut reaction (ὀργή in its broader sense), Diodotus the virtue of deliberation (γνώμη). Consider, however, the dramatic rhetoric of the author. Thucydides skips the debate and speeches in the first instance (at III.36.2), which we might assume to have taken place, in order to characterize the initial decision as spontaneous and emotional (ὑπὸ ὀργῆς). He isolates the speeches of Diodotus and Cleon, being unusually transparent in his characterization of them—ῥηθεισῶν δὲ τῶν γνωμῶν τούτων μάλιστα ἀντιπάλων πρὸς ἀλλήλας, since these were the opinions spoken that were most opposed to one another (III.49.1)—as merely those best suited to pit heart against head, as it were, and caps the whole thing with a fairytale ending. In all, Thucydides acts as the chorus: warning, moralistic, seemingly-omniscient and yet constrained by the deeds of the actors. This is not to dismiss the content of the orators’ speeches, but only to propose that higher-level analysis might have yielded more powerful and intriguing conclusions. Indeed, there is little in the way of acknowledgement of the efflorescence of scholarship on Thucydides’ dramaturgy.

By Chapter 3 (“Emotion in Aeschylus’ Active Choruses”) Thucydides has been largely left aside. What follows is an ‘emotional reading’ of the choruses of the Eumenides, Supplices and Septem. Visvardi summarizes her reading of the Eumenidesthus: “the transition to a still passionate but authoritative judicial system also overlaps with a transition to a new type of fear” (99). This type is characterized as “more rational” and qualified as “an ideal emotional disposition”. This is an intriguing means of exploring the origins of the Areopagus, although it is the very opposite of the choral argument. Thucydides is brought in for a brief comparison some fifty pages into the chapter (153), and only for his presentation of Pericles as an adept gardener of fear (II.65.9).6 Reading Pericles’ skillful playing of his audience through the rhetorical lens of the Eumenides, for example, would have been illuminating.

Thucydides hardly appears in Chapter 4, which takes as its material the Philoctetes and the Bacchae, and so the reader is left with a fairly straightforward and often excellent close reading of parts of these plays. A fascinating discussion of the role of maenadism in the framework of polis cult (via Seaford, 230f.) could fruitfully link back to Thucydides. How, moreover, does this relate to the Eumenidean “transition to a new type of fear” for which Visvardi argues above? The chorus of bacchantes exemplifies both the wisdom of Pericles’ fear-gardening and the broader rhetorical acknowledgement that appeals to γνώμη must be matched with appeals to ὀργή—but this is not a novel conclusion. Why should the chorus be the chosen body for conveying such wisdom? In the coda, Visvardi proposes “one aspect of choral expression that is unvarying and points to the performative power of the chorus within the plays: it is a collectivity that remains cohesive” (242). The obvious counter-argument—division into semi-choruses—is acknowledged in a note (242 n. 2), but this is dismissed without explanation: it does “not seem to undermine the characteristics of collectivity and cohesiveness”. Surely the case of the split vote of the chorus of the Eumenides begs the question of further examples.

In sum, the promise and premise of the book—to take two principal Athenian fifth-century sources of different genres and to see how they relate vis à vis collective emotion—are unfulfilled. In looking at only five tragedies in any detail, the rich array of choral emotion in the other twenty-odd that survive complete is collapsed. Reducing Thucydides to a lever is a pity both because the History is much more a beneficiary of the tragic art (published as it was toward the close of the era of surviving Attic tragedy) than vice-versa, and because Thucydides is far too rich a source to be a tool. Yet even as conceived the study disappoints. Vast and unsupportable assertions—to name but one: “strong and especially disruptive emotion tends to be associated with femininity and barbarism” (23)—consistently undermine the argument as constructed. The book is well produced, though not without a few errors.7

Bibliography

Aristotle, ed. Leonardo Tarán and Raphael Gutas. Aristotle Poetics. Leiden: Brill, 2012.
Athanassaki, Lucia. Ἀείδετο πὰν τέμενος: οι χορικές παραστάσεις και το κοινό τους στην αρχαική και πρώιμη κλασική περίοδο. (Choral Performances and Their Audience in the Archaic and Early Classical Periods). (reviewed BMCR 2010.09.21) Herakleio:  Panepistemiakes Ekdoseis Kretes, 2009.
Chaniotis, Angelos (ed.). Unveiling emotions : sources and methods for the study of emotions in the Greek world. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2012.
Csapo, Eric and William J. Slater. The Context of Ancient Drama. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Sanders, Ed and Matthew Johncock (edd.). Emotion and Persuasion in Classical Antiquity. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2016.


Notes:
1.   Visvardi does not cite the work of the 2009-2013 project “The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions: The Greek Paradigm”, whose principal investigator, Angelos Chaniotis, sits on the editorial board of the series in which this monograph appears (I was a research assistant on the project). Chaniotis, who from 2006 has published extensively on collective emotion in the civic and theatrical spaces, is not cited at all. Indeed, the bibliography has notable omissions, from Lucia Athanassaki’s 2009 monograph (cited above) to Peter Meineck’s body of work on emotion in Greek theatrical performance.
2.   The longest continuous discussion of the chorus in the Poetics (1452b14-27) is excised by some editors, though Tarán ultimately accepts it in his 2012 editio maior. That said, nothing in the description of the functioning and function of κάθαρσις (49b26-8) excludes the chorus.
3.   This is a central precept of ancient (and modern) rhetoric; here the study might benefit from engagement with ancient rhetoricians and scholarship on forensic oratory. See now Sanders and Johncock 2016 (cited above).
4.   Csapo and Slater (cited above), 286ff. dispel Pickard-Cambridge’s old assertion that there were no foreigners at some dramatic festivals. Csapo and Slater also include women, children, metics and slaves in the audience.
5.   One Aristotle may well acknowledge in his proviso to the definition of tragedy, δρώντων καὶ οὐ δι᾽ ἀπαγγελίας (“with people doing things and not by means of narrative”, 49b26–7).
6.   ὁπότε γοῦν αἴσθοιτό τι αὐτοὺς παρὰ καιρὸν ὕβρει θαρσοῦντας, λέγων κατέπλησσεν ἐπὶ τὸ φοβεῖσθαι, καὶ δεδιότας αὖ ἀλόγως ἀντικαθίσθη πάλιν ἐπὶ τὸ θαρσεῖν, “whenever he sensed they [the demos] were disproportionately emboldened to arrogance, by speaking he bullied them into fear; and when on the other hand he saw that they were senselessly fearful he set them back to being bold.”
7.  

18 n. 43: for “Aristotle, is not” read “Aristotle is not”.
23 n. 61: for “vary between different audience members” read “vary among…”.
30: in “the set of choruses that I focus on take on…” read “takes on…”.
35: in “the relationship between reason and emotion…posit questions” read “posits questions”.
73: for “Megarian degree” read “Megarian decree”.
117 n. 59: for “the citizens fear” read “the citizens’ fear”.
132: for “better than say” read “better than to say”.
183: for “lies that result to safety” read “lies that result in safety”.
189: close quote after “ ‘…got you as a friend (671).”
193: for “not only…isolation entails. They also…” read “not only…isolation entails, they also”.
240: for “such culture of trust” read “such a culture of trust”.
247: for “common in both genres” read “common to both genres”.
264: for “Shorey (1993)” read “Shorey (1893)”.