By Lisa Perfetti
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Recently, Patrick Colm Hogan has argued that there has been too much emphasis on cultural difference. Using a wide range of examples from literature, he develops the idea that there are “narrative universals” shared by literary texts in almost every culture and generated from emotion prototypes. Happiness, he argues, is the fundamental narrative universal and it produces the two primary literary genres found in most cultures: romantic comedy (based on achievement of personal happiness through reuniting with a lover) and heroic tragicomedy (based on the social happiness where an individual or group is restored to political and social power).
32. The original reads: . . est faicte comme de cire Et si ne demande que rire. Si je vueil plourer, elle pleure, Rire et plourer tout à une heure, Je fais d’elle ce que je veulx. Farce Nouvelle Tresbonne et fort joueuse a quattre personnages: Le savetier, le moyne, la femme, le portier, in Recueil de farces françaises inédites du XVe siècle, ed. : Medieval Academy of America, 1949), 261, vv. 112–16. 33. Abu-Lughod and Lutz affirm that “emotion discourses establish, assert, challenge, or reinforce power or status differences” (Language, 14).
17. One scholar who has extended the terms of this discussion significantly is Ulrike Wiethaus. See her Ecstatic Transformation: Transpersonal Psychology in the Work of Mechthild of Magdeburg (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996), and “Sexuality, Gender, and the Body in Late Medieval Women’s Spirituality: Cases from Germany and the Netherlands,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 7 (1991): 35–52. 18. Bynum’s understanding of the connection between a specifically female spirituality and embodiment has been criticized by Bernard McGinn; see his review of Holy Feast and Holy Fast in History of Religion 28 (1988): 90–92, and his The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, vol.
The Representation of Women's Emotions in Medieval and Early Modern Culture by Lisa Perfetti