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Title:The functions of empathy in Anglo-Saxon England
Author(s):Norcross, Katherine Rose
Director of Research:Wright, Charles D
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wright, Charles D
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Trilling, Renee R; Camargo, Martin; Jorgensen, Alice
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Empathy, Old English, History of Emotions, Cognitive Linguistics
Abstract:This dissertation contributes to the fledgling field of medieval empathy studies by tracing the articulation of fellow-feeling in the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England across a broad corpus of anonymous homilies, saints’ lives, elegies, and heroic poems including Beowulf. The first three chapters identify cultural concepts and literary strategies that enabled Anglo-Saxon writers and readers to express and experience narrative empathy as well as cognitive linguistic strategies that enable modern critics to discern when texts invite shared emotions. These three chapters delineate cultural functions of literary fellow-feeling in relation to a wide range of Old English genres; the final two chapters develop these insights in detailed case studies. This project contributes to Anglo-Saxon and medieval studies by enlarging our understanding of narrative empathy and reading mentalities in Old English literature. Further, it contributes to empathy studies by highlighting culturally-specific functions of empathy not encompassed by contemporary theories.
Issue Date:2019-05-31
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Katherine Norcross
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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