Call for Articles:
Between Art and Life: the Gargantuan World of Medieval Laughter

Hours of Mary of Burgundy Vienna, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 1857 fol. 31v

Deadline: April 15th 2021
The articles should be sent to

Laughter has been a favourite topic for medievalists for many decades, yet the potential for new research remains great. Approaches have traditionally been framed through the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, whose ideas on carnival culture have long defined understandings of medieval comedy throughout the global scholarly community. Reflecting on the many ways that the study of humour has changed over the past decades, and on the multidisciplinary approaches that have driven these changes, in this issue we welcome new interpretations of medieval humour, comedy, and laughter. Considering sociological, anthropological, and literary perspectives, as well as historical work, views from visual studies, and research on the history of the emotions, we are interested in receiving papers that share original research on laughter, in the widest range of its manifestations throughout the Middle Ages.

Possible topics might include — but are not limited to:

  • Perception and appropriateness of laughter in the eyes of the church and lay authors and authorities;
  • Laughter as a form of mystical experience and as a religious act;
  • Ritualized laughter;
  • Laughter and other emotions’ expression in relation to human health;
  • Depictions of laughter and humorous imagery in visual arts;
  • Laughter as a didactic weapon;
  • Laughter as an instrument of social control;
  • Gendered experiences of laughter: constructing one’s identity.

We also welcome reviews of recently published books (in the past three years).

Guidelines for Submitting and Formatting of Manuscripts