Erasmus and the Colloquial Emotions

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Cognitive philosophy in recent years has made conversation central to the experience of emotion: we recognise emotions in dialogue. What lesson can be drawn from this for understanding Erasmus’ Colloquies? This work has often been rifled for its treatment of ideas and opinions, but it also offers a complex and highly imaginative treatment of conversation, originating as rhetorical exercises in De copia. This essay reconfigures the Colloquies in such terms, especially those involving female interlocutors, drawing on the riches of ancient interest in conversation in Plato, Cicero and Quintilian, and also on the vogue for dialogue in Renaissance Italy from Leonardo Bruni to Castiglione.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-150
Number of pages24
JournalErasmus Studies: Journal of the Erasmus of Rotterdam Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

© Brian Cummings, 2020


  • conversation
  • women
  • emotion
  • recognition
  • rhetoric
  • dialogue

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