Cultivating the Heart

Feeling and Emotion in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Religious Texts

Author(s) Ayoush Lazikani

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages

  • June 2015 · 272 pages ·234x156mm

  • · Hardback - 9781783162611
  • · Paperback - 9781783162642
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781783162659
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783162789

About The Book

Cultivating the Heart examines the nurturance of feeling – especially the intertwined affective stirrings of compassion, love, and sorrow – in a range of religious texts from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. These texts encourage, stimulate, define and attempt to express the ‘cultivation of hearts’, an image inspired by Part VII of Ancrene Wisse, whereby readers and audiences of the texts nurture a range of sophisticated ‘affective literacies’. In addition to extensive analysis of English, Latin and Anglo-Norman texts, this book makes substantial reference to the affective strategies of wall paintings in parish churches, demonstrating how the affective strategies of wall paintings cannot be perceived as inferior to or irreconcilable with the affective import of textual media.


‘Cultivating the Heart demonstrates how early Middle English religious writings and paintings teach their readers and viewers both to thwart and to embrace affective pain – that is, the interconnected stirrings of love, compassion and sorrow inspired by the redemptive suffering of Christ and the Saints. Framed authoritatively within the latest critical discussion of the history of emotions and affective literacies, Lazikani’s sensitive readings of these sometimes alienating medieval works recover their emotional intensity and illuminate the function of the extreme suffering they evoke.’
-Professor Elizabeth Robertson, University of Glasgow


Chapter 1: Upon a Spiritual Cross: Feeling in the Lambeth and Trinity Homilies
Chapter 2: The Gnawed Hand: Presence and Absence of Feeling in the Early South English Legendaries
Chapter 3: Co-feeling: Compassion in Ancrene Wisse and the Wooing Group
Chapter 4: Call Me Bitter: Feeling and Sensing in Passion Lyrics

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Ayoush Lazikani

Ayoush Lazikani is a Stipendiary Lecturer in Old and Middle English Literature at the University of Oxford.

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