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      Tears for Fears: Alienation and Authority in the World of Benedict of Aniane

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          Abstract

          In this article, we will take a closer look at the role played by the depiction of weeping and tears in the story of the conversion of Benedict of Aniane. According to his hagiography, Benedict, seen as one of the most important intellectuals at the Carolingian court in the late eighth and early ninth century, started his career as a secular aristocrat before undergoing an inner conversion and subsequently pursuing a monastic lifestyle. As presented by the contemporary hagiographer Ardo, the tears, rather than denoting any kind of ‘abnormal’ behaviour, were among the first external signs of this conversion. As such, they should be analysed not only in terms of the behaviour of a historical figure, but also as a narrative trope with many layers of meaning that would have presented themselves to a contemporary audience familiar with the same traditions as the author of Benedict’s vita. Rather than simply denoting the emotionality of the protagonist, they signalled the author’s concerns about the state of the world as well, and as such should be seen as a way of ‘normalising’ rather than exoticising Benedict’s conversion against the broader backdrop of Carolingian court culture in the early ninth century.

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            ARE EMOTIONS A KIND OF PRACTICE (AND IS THAT WHAT MAKES THEM HAVE A HISTORY)? A BOURDIEUIAN APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING EMOTION

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                09 September 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of History, University of St. Andrews, UK
                [2 ]Institute of History, University of Vienna, AT
                [3 ]Department of History, Art History and Classics, Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL
                Article
                10.16995/olh.314
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                The medieval brain

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