The Renaissance of emotion

Understanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries

Richard Meek
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Erin Sullivan
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This collection of essays offers a major reassessment of the meaning and significance of emotional experience in the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Recent scholarship on early modern emotion has relied on a medical-historical approach, resulting in a picture of emotional experience that stresses the dominance of the material, humoral body. The Renaissance of Emotion seeks to redress this balance by examining the ways in which early modern texts explore emotional experience from perspectives other than humoral medicine.

The chapters in the book seek to demonstrate how open, creative and agency-ridden the experience and interpretation of emotion could be. Taken individually, the chapters offer much-needed investigations into previously overlooked areas of emotional experience and signification; taken together, they offer a thorough re-evaluation of the cultural priorities and phenomenological principles that shaped the understanding of the emotive self in the early modern period. The Renaissance of Emotion will be of particular interest to students and scholars of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, the history of emotion, theatre and cultural history, and the history of ideas.

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‘An important collection of essays that can stand as a survey-sample of some of the best work currently being done in the field. The thoughtful and carefully argued introduction offers a historiographical overview of the rise to prominence of the emotions in philosophy, psychology and literary studies, challenges some of the established critical orthodoxies, and opens some avenues into new research.'
Freya Sierhuis (York)

‘Every well-crafted essay has something genuinely original to offer and which is indeed taking discussion forward.'
Lesel Dawson is a senior lecturer at in the department of English at Bristol University. Eric Langley is a lecturer in the department of English at University College London
Early Theatre 20.1

‘The Renaissance of Emotion seeks to broaden our frame of reference, locating early modern emotions within a wider cultural framework of religion, philosophy, politics, and rhetoric.'
Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
Renaissance Quarterly 69.4
Winter 2016

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