Falling in love and crying: “Professionalism”, gender & emotion

Rachel E. Moss

[Gawain said:] “Ah, my uncle king Arthur! My good brother Sir Gareth is slain, and so is my brother Sir Gaheris, who were two noble knights.” Then the king and Gawain both wept, and so they fell on swooning.
Thomas Malory, Works, ed. Eugene Vinaver (my translation).

“Three things happen when they [women] are in the lab.… You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry.”
Nobel Prize-winner Sir Richard Timothy “Tim” Hunt, World Conference of Science Journalists 2016.

I’m currently tinkering with the final edits to an article on male swooning in Middle English romance. Medieval romances are full of fainting men: swooning from lovesickness, losing consciousness after battle, collapsing on receipt of bad news about beloved companions. In the middle ages, it seemed to me that swooning and weeping could be used as proofs of hypermasculinity – and so…

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