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Efficacy and Hypocrisy

Efficacy and Hypocrisy

(p.74) Chapter Three Efficacy and Hypocrisy
A Feast for the Eyes
Christina Normore
University of Chicago Press

This chapter complicates the account of audience participation provided in chapter 2 by examining the concerns surrounding public performance in late medieval elite culture. It begins with the question of emotional performance, questioning the traditional characterization of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Flemish society and especially art as emotionally naive and extreme. Drawing on Barbara Rosenwein’s theory of emotional communities, it suggests that emotional norms for rulers emphasized restraint and premeditation, which may in part explain the acceptance of pre-planned emotional displays by rulers. Such performances however brought with them the spectre of a divide between inner intentions and outer appearance that was a source of deep anxiety in court culture. These concerns are charted in relation to two figures, the hypocrite and the monkey, who personified fears concerning dissimulation and thoughtlessness.

Keywords:   emotion, emotional community, pity, tears, compassion, hypocrisy, ape, monkey

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