Alone Together: Poetics of the Passions in Late Medieval Iberia

By Henry Berlin

© 2021

The turn of the fifteenth century saw an explosion of literature throughout Iberia that was not just sentimental, but about sentiment. Alone Together reveals the political, ethical, and poetic dimensions of this phenomenon, which was among the most important of the substantial changes in intellectual and literary culture taking place in the crowns of Portugal, Castile, and Aragon. With careful analyses of lyric poetry, sentimental prose, and wide-ranging treatises in multiple languages, this study foregrounds the dense web of relations among these genres and linguistic and cultural traditions.

Drawing on Stoic and early monastic thought, authors such as the Marqués de Santillana, Ausiàs March, and Alfonso de Madrigal explored the unifying potential of shared emotion in an ethical rehabilitation that cut across the personal and political, exalting friendly conversation, civic communication, and collective poetic composition. In his readings of these authors, Henry Berlin references recent work on lyric theory and the history and theory of emotion, from classical antiquity to the modern day. An exploration of the political and poetic potential of shared emotion, Alone Together shows how a heuristic focus on the notion of passion is illuminating for broader ongoing discussions about the nature of emotion, the lyric, and subjectivity.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Iberic
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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    From: $75.00
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Quick Overview

Alone Together reinterprets the explosion of sentimental poetry and prose in fifteenth-century Iberia.

Alone Together: Poetics of the Passions in Late Medieval Iberia

By Henry Berlin

© 2021

The turn of the fifteenth century saw an explosion of literature throughout Iberia that was not just sentimental, but about sentiment. Alone Together reveals the political, ethical, and poetic dimensions of this phenomenon, which was among the most important of the substantial changes in intellectual and literary culture taking place in the crowns of Portugal, Castile, and Aragon. With careful analyses of lyric poetry, sentimental prose, and wide-ranging treatises in multiple languages, this study foregrounds the dense web of relations among these genres and linguistic and cultural traditions.

Drawing on Stoic and early monastic thought, authors such as the Marqués de Santillana, Ausiàs March, and Alfonso de Madrigal explored the unifying potential of shared emotion in an ethical rehabilitation that cut across the personal and political, exalting friendly conversation, civic communication, and collective poetic composition. In his readings of these authors, Henry Berlin references recent work on lyric theory and the history and theory of emotion, from classical antiquity to the modern day. An exploration of the political and poetic potential of shared emotion, Alone Together shows how a heuristic focus on the notion of passion is illuminating for broader ongoing discussions about the nature of emotion, the lyric, and subjectivity.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Iberic
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Henry Berlin’s book challenges us to take stock of and reframe the ways in which late medieval courtly writers of the Iberian Peninsula employed the passions in their texts. Berlin’s skilful treatment of the passions makes a crucial contribution to theories of the emotions and truly enlivens that familiar debate. His beautiful study breaks new ground in the examination of intersections between literatures across several Iberian languages and is sure to be a touchstone for work on late medieval Iberian courtly literature."


    Jean Dangler, Professor of Spanish, Tulane University

    "A rich, nuanced, illuminating study of the role of emotion in one of the most prolific poetic periods, set against the backdrop of a complex political landscape. The depth of analysis and its wide-reaching scope make this an important, impactful study."


    Ana M. Gómez-Bravo, Professor of Spanish, University of Washington

    "In this tour-de-force, Henry Berlin tackles two of the most difficult genres in late medieval Iberian literature, lyric and sentimental fiction, through the analysis of concepts such as ‘passion,’ ‘affect,’ ‘sentiment,’ ‘feeling,’ and ‘emotion,’ all of them notoriously hard to pin down. He does a superb job analyzing the classical and etymological roots of these terms and their development throughout the Middle Ages. What is more important, his book becomes a defence of the field of Iberian Studies. That is, he pays attention to the troubadour revival and love literature in Castile, Aragon, and Portugal at the end of the Middle Ages as stemming from the political and cultural interconnections of these regions. Dynastic history and royal patronage show the polyglot relations at play in the development of medieval Iberian literature."


    Antonio Cortijo Ocaña, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Author Information

    Henry Berlin is an assistant professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University at Buffalo SUNY.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Courtly Conflict and the Passions

    Part One: Friendship and Pleasure

    1. Classical Rhetoric and Vernacular Theories of Social Integration
    2. Alfonso de Madrigal, el Tostado, on the Politics of Friendship
    3. Reason and Its Discontents

    Part Two: Compassion and Consolation

    4. Impassibility, Pity, Community
    5. Passionate Quotation
    6. The Impasse of the Courtly Reward
    7. Confession, Consolation, and the Poetics of Hylomorphism

    Conclusion: Tragic Enclosure

    Bibliography

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