Scientific article
Open access

Kinesic intelligence, medieval illuminated psalters, and the poetics of the psalms

Published inStudia Neophilologica, p. 1-24
First online date2022-04-28

Kinesic intelligence enables humans to understand physical movements and produce complex meanings out of them and by means of them. Grounded in embodied cognition, it elicits perceptual simulations of sensorimotor events. An attention to perceptual simulations in literature and art helps not only address readers’ and audiences’ cognitive participation in their reception of artworks, it also helps account for historical traces of cognitive acts, perceptual simulations, and kinesic intelligence in the production of artworks. This essay tests this claim in two ways. Its first part studies the text-image relationships in four medieval manuscripts containing illustrations of the psalms (the Utrecht Psalter and its English derivatives, i.e., the Harley Psalter, the Eadwine Psalter, and the Paris Psalter), while its second part focuses on a challenging line in Psalm 16: adipem suum concluserunt, comparing various translations of it over centuries and showing that its core meaning is conveyed by a sensorimotor metaphor that calls for a sustained attention to the perceptual simulations it triggers.

  • Embodied cognition
  • Kinesic analysis
  • Gesture
  • Psalms
  • Sensorimotricity
  • Utrecht Psalter
  • Translation
Citation (ISO format)
BOLENS, Guillemette. Kinesic intelligence, medieval illuminated psalters, and the poetics of the psalms. In: Studia Neophilologica, 2022, p. 1–24. doi: 10.1080/00393274.2022.2051733
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0039-3274

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