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REVIEWS137 Tennyson's condemnation, most people preferred him to the pure Galahad or censorious Arthur whose treatment of the lovers in the IdylL· caused the respected scholar, EJ. Furnivall, to recoil in revulsion from 'the Pecksniffofthe period.' Through modernised versions of the Morte, baptismal fonts, Youth Clubs etc. Launcelot was offered as the paramount model of a gentleman. No artist followed Tennyson's instruction to Julia Cameron regarding Launcelot's visualisation, ? want a face well worn with evil passion!' Except as a catalogue or picture book, the informed reader will derive little satisfaction from this study. The style is cliché-ridden, repetitive, prosaic, and marred by numerous errors in grammar and spelling. The ground has already been well worked and what is claimed to be original—the Victorian interest in spiritualism, mesmerism, witchcraft, solar mythology, millennialism, the women's movements, etc. —is largely irrelevant since Poulson fails to prove that the artists and their patrons were affected by these phenomena in their art works and purchases. MURIEL WHITAKER University ofAlberta barbara H. Rosenwein, ed., Anger's Past. The Social Uses ofan Emotion in the Middle Ages. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998, Pp. xi, 256. 12 illustrations. isbn: 0-8014-8343-3. $16.95. The collection ofarticles assembled in this book is yet another prooffor the vibtancy and progressiveness ofmedieval studies at large. Instead offocusing on warfare, kings, feudal structures, and the like, the individual contributors make serious attempts to identify the meaning and function ofanger in medieval society. Using hagiographical material, chronicles, literary documents, stone carvings, and even paintings, the authors demonstrate the excellent results ofinterdisciplinary research employing both traditional philological research skills as well as insights from anthropology, sociology, and Mentalitätsgeschichte. The history of anger has not yet been written, as the contributors and the editor know too well, but they make important inroads in an area of human emotions that has left many traces and only waits to be interpreted. Whereas sociologists and historians from the pre-war period such as Norbert Elias, Marc Bloch, and Johan Huizinga assumed that medieval society was characterized by child-like, that is, highly emotional behavior and lack of self-control, the critical examination ofconcrete cases ofanger in a wide variety ofmedieval sources points to the opposite direction. Within the world of the church anger was one of the seven deadly sins, but even within monasteries often cases of angry behavior were reported. As Lester K. Little demonstrates, material sanctions by the early church were soon replacing spiritual punishment because of a weakened system of public justice. Anger could, however, be expressed as curses, and also be considered as acceptable if the monks had to fight against injustice or violence done to them from the outside by the powerful secular rulers. Catherine Peyroux illustrates another angle of this phenomenon by referring 138ARTHURIANA to young Gertruds outburst ofanger against the wooing ofa young man, as described in a saint's life from ca. 670. As Gertrud already felt God's love for her, the insinuation of secular marriage was an insult to her against which she raised her angry protests, here curiously calledfuror which normally carried very negative connotations. Gerd Althoffshows that medieval kings were initially fairly free to display anger, but with the growing influence of the church the public expectations centered on a mild, patient, and merciful king since the time ofthe Carolingians. Geneviève BührerThierry approaches the topic by examining how the punishment of blinding the criminals in the early Middle Ages was considered a legitimate means available to rulers; this tells us, however, only little about the role of anger. Paul Hyams deals with the question how anger was, in the course of time, increasingly viewed with disapproval leading to a new level of civilization. Although he criticizes C. Stephen Jaeger's thesis (Origins, 1985), he does not offer alternative explanations. And mostly he limits himself to the English kingdom in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Hyams also uses several medieval German literary texts, but misspells almost all the names and misreads some ofthe major documents such as the Nibelungenlied. Stephen D. White dismisses the notion/prejudice that medieval society revealed signs of primitivism, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 137-138
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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