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Production of Emotions

Perspectives and Functions


Edited By Teresa Bruś and Marcin Tereszewski

The essays of this collection are, each in their own way, an attempt to address the centrality of emotions in literary and cultural production in a variety of genres, from medieval moralities to contemporary novels, from English Romanticism to film studies. Emotions are understood as mobile forms or forces, crossing between subjects and locations. The interdisciplinary and diverse nature of this collection reflects the view that emotions are interpersonal and forever slipping beyond our grasp. Yet, in thinking about emotion, we discover unexpected confluences. The contributions in this volume are grouped in five areas which reflect larger categories and provide a valid platform for interpretation of emotions: dynamics of modern culture, history, social sciences, interpersonal contexts, and imagination.
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Ewa Błasiak - Emotional Patterns in Morality Plays


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Ewa Błasiak

The University of Wrocław

Emotional Patterns in Morality Plays

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the prime objective of medieval religious drama was to teach rather than to entertain. Heavily didactic and tediously allegorical, morality plays would not probably be the first choice when it comes to the study of emotions. The scholars of medieval literature often discard morality plays as a genre potentially appealing to a contemporary audience. One of the many aspects of morality plays which may support their view is what Marion Jones identifies as an unqualified lack of unexpectedness: the absence of any surprising turn of events within the play (216). Talbot Donaldson points to the neatness of “allegorical equations” as a potential reason for the unpopularity of a moral play today (367). Hardin Craig espouses his view, claiming that it was indeed the constant re-introduction of “allegorical figures of virtues and vices on the stage” which became the bane of moralities in the Renaissance (378). Morality plays approached their end, argues A.M. Kinghorn, because as time went on “they no longer answered the questions which were being asked by educated people” (125). In his essay on medieval drama, Brander Matthews contrasts the classical drama of Greece and Rome, which he calls a “dramatic literature” with the religious drama of the Middle Ages (1). At the same time, however, he observes that the medieval drama is similar to the ancient drama of...

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