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Sighs and Swoons: Breath and Breathing in Medieval Writing

(22 February 2019)

Professor Corinne Saunders will present 'Sighs and Swoons: Breath and Breathing in Medieval Writing' at Palace Green Library on Tuesday, 5 March at 6pm. This talk will explore romantic narratives and religious writings of the medieval period, focusing on Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe, to consider what they can tell us about the origins of contemporary attitudes. Book via Eventbrite. If you have any queries, please visit our website or contact us at

Breath plays an key role in the imaginative fiction of the medieval period. Romance writers draw on medical and theological theories of the time to portray the ways that the movements of the vital spirits – closely connected with breath – create powerful physical responses, which at their most extreme cause breathlessness, sighs and swooning. Such phenomena play a key part in the depiction of emotion, particularly love and grief. This relaxed evening talk will take place in the Courtyard Café and will include free refreshments. Due to limited ticket numbers, please ensure that you book in advance.

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