Mixing pleasure and beauty: positive aesthetic experience in Old English poetry

Francisco Javier Minaya Gómez

Abstract


This article analyses 23 different lexical items in Old English denoting positive aesthetic emotion, more specifically, related to the expression of appearance, moral qualities, and personal pleasant experience with the aim of gaining a better understanding of aesthetic standards in Anglo-Saxon England. Using different lexical tools, corpora and software, I have built a database where I have annotated the attestations from the corpus taking into account different sociolinguistic criteria. An in-depth analysis of these fragments and their statistical treatment has shown that descriptions of beauty in Old English poetry have two main routes: a) one that addresses the object’s aesthetic qualities objectively and b) another that focuses on the subject’s response to it. Furthermore, these two alternatives were often complementary in texts of a religious nature.

Keywords


Old English poetry; Old English beauty; aesthetics; historical linguistics; cognitive linguistics; history of emotions; aesthetic emotions

Full Text:

PDF

References


Atkins, Berly T. S. 1987. “Semantic ID tags: corpus evidence for dictionary senses”. Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the UW Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary: 17-36.

Berlyne, D. E., ed. 1974. Studies in the new experimental aesthetics: Steps towards an objective psychology of aesthetic appreciation. Oxford: Hemisphere.

Bitterli, D. 2016. “Strange Perceptions: Sensory Experience in the Old English ‘Marvels of the East”. The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England. Eds. A. Kern-Stähler, B. Busse and W. de Boer. Leiden: Brill. 137-162

Blake, N. F. 1964. The Phoenix. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Bosanquet, B. 1894. “On the Nature of Æsthetic Emotion”. Mind 3 (10): 153-166.

Bosworth, J. and T. N. Toller with S. Crist, O. Tichy, M. Hejná, H. Filipová and L. Gillova. 2013. Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague. .

Cameron, A., Crandell Amos, A. and A. di Paolo Healey et al. (eds.). 2018. Dictionary of Old English: A to I online. Toronto: Dictionary of Old English Project. . (Accessed July 2019).

Cupchik, G. C. 2016. The Aesthetic of Emotion: Up the Down Staircase of the Mind-Body. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Damasio, A. R. 1999. The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making of consciousness. New York: Harcourt.

Díaz-Vera, J. E. and T. Manrique-Antón. 2015. “‘Better shamed before one tan shamed before all’: Shaping shame in Old English and Old Norse texts”. Metaphor and Metonymy across Time and Cultures. Ed. J. E. Díaz-Vera. Berlin: Walter de Gruyer. 225-264.

Díaz-Vera, J. E. 2011. “Reconstructing the Old English cultural model for fear”. Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies 33 (1): 85-103.

Díaz-Vera, J. E. 2014. “From cognitive linguistics to historical sociolinguistics: The evolution of Old English expressions of shame and guilt”. Cognitive Linguistic Studies 1 (1): 55-83.

Díaz-Vera, J. E. 2015. “Exploring the relationships between emotions, language and space: Construals of AWE in medieval English language and pilgrimage experience”. Studia Neophilologica 88: 165-189.

diPaolo Healey, Antonette, with J. Price Wilkin and Xin Xiang (Compilers). 2009. Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus. Toronto: Dictionary of Old English Project.

Eco, U. 2004. On Beauty: A History of a Western Ideal. London: Secker & Warburg. Trans. Alastair McEwen.

Frijda, N. H., Kuipers, P. and E. ter Schure. 1989. “Relations Among Emotion, Appraisal, and Emotional Action Readiness”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (2): 212-228.

Frijda, N. H. 1988. “The laws of emotion”. American Psychologis 43 (5): 349-358.

Gevaert, C. 2007. The history of ANGER: The lexical field of ANGER from Old English to Early Modern English. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven: Leuven. . (Accessed 28 Aug. 19)

Gladkova, A. and J. Romero-Trillo. 2014. “Ain’t it beautiful? The conceptualization of beauty from an ethnopragmatic perspective”. Journal of Pragmatics 60: 140-159.

Gries, S. Th. 2010. “Behavioral Profiles: A fine-grained and quantitative approach in corpus-based lexical semantics”. The Mental Lexicon 5 (3): 323-346.

Gries, S. Th. and N. Otani. 2010. “Behavioral Profiles: A corpus-based perspective on synonymy and antonymy”. ICAME Journal 34: 121-150.

Hagman, G. 2005. Aesthetic Experience: Beauty, Creativity, and the Search for the Ideal. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi.

Hill, J. M., ed. 2010. On the Aesthetics of Beowulf and Other Old English Poems. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I. 2013. “The relationship between conceptual metaphor and culture”. Intercultural Pragmatics 10 (2): 315-339.

Izard, C. E. 1977. Human emotions. New York: Plenum Press.

Juslin, P. N. 2013. “From everyday emotions to aesthetic emotions: Toward a unified theory of musical emotions”. Physics of Life Reviews 10 (3): 235-266.

Juzi, G. 1939. Die Ausdrücke des Schönen in der ae. Dichtung: Untersuchung über ein sprachliches Feld. Zurich: Aschmann & Scheller.

Kim, S. M. and A. S. Mittman. 2010. “Ungefrægelicu deor: Truth and the Wonders of the East”. Different Visions. A Journal of New Perspectives on Medieval Art 2: 1-22.

Kytö, M. 1996. Manual to the Diachronic Part of The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts: Coding Conventions and List of Source Texts. Helsinki: Helsinki University Printing House.

Lazarus, R. S. 1991. “Progress on a cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotion”. American Psychologist 46 (8): 819-834.

Lockett, L. 2011. Anglo-Saxon Psychologies in the Vernacular and Latin Tradition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Marković, S. 2012. “Components of aesthetic experience: aesthetic fascination, aesthetic appraisal, and aesthetic emotion”. i-Perception 3: 1-17.

Marwick, A. 2004. It: A History of Human Beauty. London and New York: Hambeldon and London.

Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., Schindler, I., Hanich, J., Jacobsen, T. and S. Koelsch. 2019. “What Are Aesthetic Emotions”. Psychological Review 126 (2): 171-195.

Miller, G. A. and W. G. Charles. 1991. “Contextual correlates of semantic similarity”. Language and Cognitive Processes 6 (1): 1-28.

Minaya, F. J. 2019. “As beautiful inside, as it is outside. On the connection between beauty and morality in the Old English corpus”. Complutense Journal of English Studies 27: 205-221.

Möhlig-Falke, R. 2016. “Using the ‘Dictionary of Old English Corpus’ for linguistic analyses: a basic classification of the textual sources”. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 15 (1): 395-420.

Munteanu, D. L. 2009. “‘Qualis tandem misericordia in rebus fictis?’ Aesthetic and ordinary emotion”. Helios 36 (2): 117-147.

Ramey, P. (2017). “The Riddle of Beauty: The Aesthetics of Wrætlic in Old English Verse”. Modern Philology 113 (3): 457-481.

Rissanen, M., Kytö, M., Kahlas-Tarkka, L., Kilpiö, M., Nevanlinna, S., Taavitsainen, I., Nevalainen, T. and H. Raumolin-Brunberg (Compilers). 1991. The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts. Helsinki: Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki.

Roberts, J. and C. Kay with L. Grundy. 2017. A Thesaurus of Old English: University of Glasgow. .

Rosch, E., Thompson, E. and F. Vaerla. 1991. The embodied mind: cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Roseman, I. J. and C. A. Smith. 2001. “Appraisal theory: Overview, Assumptions, Varieties, Controversies”. Appraisal Processes in Emotion: Theory, Methods, Research. Eds. K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr and T. Johnstone. New York: Oxford University Press. 3-19.

Scherer, K. R. 1982. “Emotion as a Process: Function, Origin and Regulation”. Social Science Information 21: 550-570.

Scherer, K. R. 2005. “What are emotions? And how can they be measured”. Social Science Information, 44 (4): 695-729.

Shibles, W. 1995. Emotion in Aesthetics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Taylor, A., Warner, A., Pintzuk, S. and F. Beths (Compilers). 2003. The York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose and Poetry. York: Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York.

Thornton, J. W. 1940. “Aesthetic Emotion”. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 1 (2): 199-207.

Tyler, E. M. 2006. Old English Poetics: The Aesthetics of the Familiar in Anglo-Saxon England. York: York Medieval Press.

Trilling, R. R. 2009. The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representations in Old English Verse. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Williamson, C. and T. Shippey. 2017. The Complete Old English Poems. Pennsylvania, Phi: University of Pennsylvania Press.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.4417

Copyright (c) 2020 Francisco Javier Minaya Gómez

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300