The Embodiment of Teaching the Regulation of Emotions in Early Modern Europe

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Abstract

Teaching the regulation of emotions to support parents in educating their children to come of age properly was part of a missionary movement in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. This movement was inspired by the belief in the power of education from the northern European Renaissance and by the emphasis on catechism by the Reformation. Its mission resulted in an impressive and varied supply of (emblem) books on family and child-rearing advice. This article focuses on the embodiment of the teaching of the regulation of emotions represented in emblems that use the combined power of images and text. Based on a framework resulting from an analysis of the discourse on the classification and the regulation of emotions in early modern Europe, a sample of seventeenth-century emblems from one of the most popular books of the Dutch seventeenth-century republic, Mirror of the Ancient and Modern Time by Jacob Cats, was analysed by looking at the embodiment of teaching in relationship to the emblem’s text. Most emotions named by philosophers and theologians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were also expressed in those emblems. The emblems carry the message that behavioural mistakes belong to the phase of youth. Teaching children to control their emotions could be done through fun. One of the most popular books in seventeenth-century Holland, many people, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, bought and read Cats’ work, evidence for the conclusion that a majority of Dutch burghers shared the messages in the emblems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-65
Number of pages18
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Volume54
Issue number1/2
Early online date17-Nov-2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018

Keywords

  • embodiment in images
  • emotions
  • the regulation of emotions
  • emblem books
  • Early Modern Europe
  • CHILDHOOD
  • EDUCATION

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