Without affect

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 24, 2005

In Reply to: Without affect posted by R. Berg on January 23, 2005

: : In a story from BBC News about Michelangelo he was described as "strange, without affect, and isolated." He was also described as "preoccupied with his own private reality." What does "without affect" mean?

: Lacking emotion. "Affect" in this sense is a term used by psychologists. For a fuller description, look up a dictionary definition of "affect" as a noun.

Harder to understand than the phrase "without affect" is the reason the story used this term. Michelangelo had a lot of friends, with whom he had a voluminous correspondence and exchanged gifts, he was on a first-name basis with some of the righ and famous persons of the day, and was aware of family matters back in Florence (when he was in Rome) and felt responsible. He may very well have been preoccupied much of the time. He was an artist and a poet (writing poetry with considerable, if sometimes clumsily expressed, affect), and a vocal dissenter to the Medici regime in Florence. Does that sound like a man without affect? SS