Twelfth-century transformations




Ashe, Laura

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Between the mid-eleventh and the late twelfth centuries, the ways in which people perceived, understood, and explored their places in the world were drastically and irreversibly changed. These changes have long been recognized, and scholars in various fields have described their effects on society and culture. The transformations of this period include the appearance and rise of what is now known as affective piety, religious experience characterized by extreme emotional engagement; the corresponding change in theological focus from God the Father to the suffering, loving Christ; the theological and psychological turn to interiority, and a newly confessional sense of selfhood; the appearance of new secular ideologies of chivalry, of love, of individuality, and cultural and social elitism; finally, the development of literary fiction. It is my argument that these are all parts of a whole, and that their origins can be traced and explained in terms of one another.



English literature, Literature and history