Chapter 7 Affective Literacy: Gestures of Reading in the Later Middle Ages Mark Amsler University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee In this essay, I use the term "affective literacy" to denote ways we develop emotional, somatic, activity-based relationships with texts as part of our reading experiences. One aspect of affective literacy involves the immediate somatic ways we touch, sense, perceive, vocalize, or perform a text with our eyes, hands, mouths, and bodies. Another aspect involves the emotive, noncognitive, paralinguistic things we do with or to texts during the act of reading--for example, holding a book close like a charm for comfort or protection, or touching or kissing reverentially a page in a prayer book. A third aspect of affective literacy is the range of emotional, spiritual, somatic responses readers have to a text, such as crying, laughing, becoming angry, or becoming aroused. While practices of "affective literacy" are certainly associated with late medieval affective piety, they are not restricted to religious or devotional experiences. The term "affective literacy" locates a broad range of somatic, emotive responses to reading a text. Affective literacy seeks out the life principle, messy and complex, threading through reading activities and gestures toward bodily economies of reading
Essays in Medieval Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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