Understanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries

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.

Troilus and Criseyde and Troilus and Cressida

For the last three decades or so, literary studies, especially those dealing with premodern texts, have been dominated by the New Historicist paradigm. This book is a collection of essays explores medieval and early modern Troilus-texts from Chaucer to Shakespeare. The contributions show how medieval and early modern fictions of Troy use love and other emotions as a means of approaching the problem of tradition. The book argues that by emphasizing Troilus's and Cressida's hopes and fears, Shakespeare sets in motion a triangle of narrative, emotion and temporality. It is a spectacle of which tells something about the play but also about the relation between anticipatory emotion and temporality. The sense of multiple literary futures is shaped by Shakespeare's Chaucer, and in particular by Troilus and Criseyde. The book argues that the play's attempted violence upon a prototypical form of historical time is in part an attack on the literary narratives. Criseyde's beauty is described many times. The characters' predilection for sententiousness unfolds gradually. Through Criseyde, Chaucer's Poet displaces authorial humility as arrogance. The Troilus and Criseyde/Cressida saga begins with Boccaccio, who isolates and expands the love affair between Troiolo and Criseida to vent his sexual frustration. The poem appears to be linking an awareness of history and its continuing influence and impact on the present to hermeneutical acts conspicuously gendered female. The main late medieval Troy tradition does two things: it represents ferocious military combat, and also practises ferocious literary combat against other, competing traditions of Troy.

The crucial year

The Troilus and Criseyde/Cressida saga is a perfect vehicle for tracing the history of the emotions, in that it offers an unparalleled darkening of mood over time. This saga begins with Boccaccio, who isolates and expands the love affair between Troiolo and Criseida to vent his sexual frustration. The conceit of the work, as laid out in its prose prologue, is that

in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare
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2 Mutinous emotion The emotions of mutineers contributed to their subjectivity ‘from the inside out’, being their inner responses to the world around them, forming a circuit with their sensory experience and shaping the way that they interacted with their environment.1 The passage of time and the selection of words mediated the raw emotion of the mutiny, rendering historical analysis a fragile business. The difficulties of reading emotions from their retrospective literary expression notwithstanding, certain emotions emerge during the process of revolt with

in Mutinous memories
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medical humoralism as a means of explaining mental and emotional processes, both those of Richard and early modern individuals more generally. For some recent critics of Renaissance literature and culture (and Shakespearian drama in particular), Richard’s comments might confirm the notion that humoral theory was the essential model for understanding the emotions in the period, rooting such phenomena in

in The Renaissance of emotion
Framing biblical emotions in the Book of Common Prayer and the Homilies

model. 10 In order to adjudicate between the hegemonic and the reciprocal approach, more data are required. Data of a comparative nature are particularly valuable, for what do they know of the Church of England who only the Church of England know? Fortunately, the results of a recent ground-breaking study on religious emotions in early modern Germany, which can be applied

in The Renaissance of emotion

emotion at being put to death, but it is one in accordance with the tacit aims of the genre. The emotions, or lack thereof, of all participants in the spectacle of state-ordered death appear shaped by convention in numerous accounts, found in both drama and cheap print. 2 The ruler who orders the execution, the executioner, the condemned, the spectators who bear witness to the

in The Renaissance of emotion
Renaissance emotion across body and soul

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

in The Renaissance of emotion

This article addresses two questions about artworks. First, why do we emotionally respond to characters and stories that we believe are fictional? Second, why are some media better than others at generating specific types of emotions? I answer these questions using psychological research that suggests our minds are not unified, but are comprised of numerous subsystems that respond differently to various aspects of artworks. I then propose a framework to help us understand how films, videogames, and literature interact with our minds in different ways, which explains why they tend to excel at generating different types of emotions.

Film Studies

THE EMOTIONS ARE NOT simply a matter for literature: critics have them too. Or, more interestingly, perhaps, they play an important role in the critical process which goes far beyond any naively expressive response to the emotional content of literary works. The reading of Hamlet presented here raises this as a problem in the theory and

in The Renaissance of emotion