‘Medical Interventions in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini: Grief, Madness, and Music’
School of History, Law and Social Sciences Research Seminar Series
This talk emerges from Dr Winkler’s current book project, where she explores medieval ideas about emotional experiences of grieving, and examining how these relate to ideas about health and social wellbeing. In her talk, she will focus on medieval narratives about medical interventions in cases of extreme emotional distress, especially chronic grief. The central text she will consider is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini. She will argue that its ideas about medical interventions on behalf of mental and emotional health expand on and deviate from familiar consolation and curing narratives. They reveal a range of creative ideas akin to personalized medicine, wilderness first aid, and song-and-story therapy. She will re-think medieval ideas about the relationship between illness and sin, and she will think about medieval concepts of intervention in emotional experiences---ranging from confronting and harnessing, to embracing and encouraging. She will conclude by looking at wider cultural and thematic links to Latin texts, such as the Merton annals, and to vernacular histories and romances in Anglo-Norman French.
Emily Winkler is a cultural historian of medieval Europe. She has written and edited several books in medieval history, with interests in historical writing, emotion, history of ideas, political thought, and medieval society. She received her doctoral degree in History from the University of Oxford, where she is currently Lecturer in Medieval History at Hertford College and St Edmund Hall
Meeting ID: 321 511 009 374