Introduction

Richard Meek*, Erin Sullivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an extraordinary proliferation of theoretical ideas about the nature and meaning of emotion, and this introduction offers a survey of the sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory, intellectual and aesthetic traditions that helped shape this debate. It responds to previous work in the field that has focused primarily on medical humoralism and makes a case for a more pluralistic view of emotion in the period. Renaissance literary texts provide compelling evidence that emotions were not a passive phenomenon, acting upon people’s bodies, but an active, imaginative and philosophical process. Characters in early modern texts often express dissatisfaction with a purely medical understanding of emotion, looking instead to other complex systems of knowledge – including religion and philosophy, rhetorical and language theory, and drama and performance – to articulate and reflect upon their emotional experiences. The introduction thus proposes a rereading of emotional texts from this period with a more pluralistic model of affective experience in mind, paying greater attention to how individuals in this period interrogated, cultivated and performed emotional experience in active and often self-defining ways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Renaissance of emotion
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding affect in Shakespeare and his contemporaries
EditorsRichard Meek, Erin Sullivan
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Pages1-22
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780719098949, 9780719098956
ISBN (Print)9780719090783, 9781526116918
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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