– Lily Campbell’s argument for each tragedy’s ruling passion, John Draper’s naming of each character’s temperament. 2 Of special interest is Paster’s work: passions in English Renaissance drama closely relate to bodily elements and humoral fluids, though some characters boast a ‘humour’ just to gain social status. I am deeply indebted to Paster, but seek to widen her materialist
IN THE STUDY OF Renaissance emotion, especially in relation to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, it doesn’t take long before coming across the work of Thomas Wright ( c. 1561–1623). 1 His The Passions of the Minde in Generall , first published in 1601, has become something of a touchstone for literary scholars, offering
of the tragedies, especially King Lear, the impoverished venue where epiphany gains full effect in Shakespeare’s works. Lear’s empathetic defence of Tom, the Bethlehem beggar who is terrified of fiends and obsessed with his sins, matches Southwell’s allegory of the Passion in Spiritual Exercises
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.
Complicating the question of affective scripts is the possibility, and advisability, of emotional control. Gail Kern Paster’s groundbreaking Humoring the Body and many of the chapters in the contemporaneous collection Reading the Early Modern Passions argue for a humoral understanding of early modern psychological and emotional states, a necessary insight
passion but as a complementary (indeed superior) form of reason, a compassionate reason that seeks to reform her male counterpart. Finally, the third power of the soul, sensory awareness or activity (Dwarf, Ruddymane, Talus), exemplifies the special but limited potencies of the human mind on the lowest, corporeal or sensory level of being. Each of these diminutive or
, leaving Lamia to ask, ‘Is this legal?’. 6 But Massinger's play is not the last to use this image of the desiring tyrant. Desire in tyranny and the tyranny of desire is maintained throughout Caroline drama, both in tragicomedy and in tragedy. Caroline tragicomedy, however, allows the monarch to overcome such powerful passions, either in moderating his behaviour to rule better (Massinger's Emperor of the East ), uniting with a more suitable romantic partner and submitting to the laws of the land (Brome's The Queen’s Exchange ), or reuniting with a lawful wife and
) quotation of Clytemnestra’s words in Seneca’s tragedy Agamemnon (line 115) could be translated as ‘the safe way for crime is through further crimes’. 11 They mark the moment when Clytemnestra devotes herself fully to her passions. Her desire to take revenge on her husband is driven by her illicit love for Aegisthus, her fears for Agamemnon’s reprisal and her jealousy of
what was to become the most widely used and familiar moment for musical adaptation in all of the poem: Armida’s impassioned lament for the departing Rinaldo, after he has been brought to his senses at the sight of his effeminised self in the magic shield carried by Carlo and Ubaldo. 5 It is not only the elevated passions and Dido-like grandeur of the lament itself which suggest the passage
analysis – anger, pity, melancholy, shame and so on – rather than noticing that many states of feeling are transitional or inseparably multiple. 2 Even the important (if differing) philosophical accounts of ‘the Passions’ in general by Robert Solomon and Thomas Dixon tend to represent affective states as definably discrete. 3 As Erin Sullivan has shown in Chapter 1 , above, precedents are the great early modern