The Body Embarrassed

Men and women in early modern Europe experienced their bodies very differently from the ways in which contemporary men and women do In this challenging and innovative book Gail Kern Paster examines representations of the body in Elizabethan Jacobean drama in the light of humoral medical theory tracing the connections between the history of the visible social body and the history of the subject s body as experienced from within

Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage

Though modern readers no longer believe in the four humors of Galenic naturalism blood choler melancholy and phlegm early modern thought found in these bodily fluids key to explaining human emotions and behavior In i Humoring the Body i Gail Kern Paster proposes a new way to read the emotions of the early modern stage so that contemporary readers may recover some of the historical particularity in early modern expressions of emotional self experience br br Using notions drawn from humoral medical theory to untangle passages from important moral treatises medical texts natural histories and major plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries Paster identifies a historical phenomenology in the language of affect by reconciling the significance of the four humors as the language of embodied emotion She urges modern readers to resist the influence of post Cartesian abstraction and the disembodiment of human psychology lest they miss the body mind connection that still existed for Shakespeare and his contemporaries and constrained them to think differently about how their emotions were embodied in a premodern world

Reading the Early Modern Passions: Essays in the Cultural History of Emotion

How translatable is the language of the emotions across cultures and time What connotations of particular emotions strongly felt in the early modern period have faded or shifted completely in our own If Western culture has traditionally held emotion to be hostile to reason and the production of scientific knowledge why and how have the passions been lauded as windows to higher truths Assessing the changing discourses of feeling and their relevance to the cultural history of affect i Reading the Early Modern Passions i offers fourteen interdisciplinary essays on the meanings and representations of the emotional universe of Renaissance Europe in literature music and art br br Many in the early modern era were preoccupied by the relation of passion to action and believed the passions to be a natural force requiring stringent mental and physical disciplines In speaking to the question of the historicity and variability of emotions within individuals several of these essays investigate specific emotions such as sadness courage and fear Other essays turn to emotions spread throughout society by contemporary events such as a ruler s death the outbreak of war or religious schism and discuss how such emotions have widespread consequences in both social practice and theory br br Addressing anxieties about the power of emotions their relation to the public good their centrality in promoting or disturbing an individual s relation to God to monarch and to fellow human beings the authors also look at the ways emotion serves as a marker or determinant of gender ethnicity and humanity Contributors to the volume include Zirka Filipczak Victoria Kahn Michael Schoenfeldt Bruce Smith Richard Strier and Gary Tomlinson

Michaelmas Term: Thomas Middleton

i Michaelmas Term i is one of five satiric city comedies that the young playwright Thomas Middleton wrote for the boy players of St Paul s Cathedral sometime before Set in a vividly detailed realistic urban milieu at the start of London s social season the play comes alive through the central contest between Ephestian Quomodo an ambitious land hungry city merchant and Richard Easy a naive landowning gallant just arrived in the city Easy is soon deep in debt and his struggle to recoup his debts and reclaim his land from Quomodo takes places against a sharply drawn set of London types Quomodo s socially and sexually ambitious wife and daughter the Scottish upstart Andrew Lethe and his mistress the Country Wench eager to exchange her virginity for an elegant new wardrobe In its witty bawdy dialogue and complex gulling action the play offers an unusually cynical assessment of the social and familial displacements the alienation and loss of cultural memory characteristic of life in the great metropolis of early modern London In this sense the play is an early satiric diagnosis of urban modernity This edition newly collated and edited features complete explanations of the play s often bawdy exchanges and the complex stage action of the gulling and secondary plots It will be invaluable for advanced students of the Middleton canon as well as all those interested in early modern London and its vibrant theatrical culture especially the tradition of boy choristers as professional actors

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Texts and Contexts

This edition of Shakespeare s A Midsummer Night s Dream reprints the Bevington edition of the play accompanied by four sets of primary documents and illustrations thematically arranged to offer a richly textured understanding of early modern culture and Shakespeare s work within that culture The texts including facsimiles of period documents conduct literature county records reports of court entertainments and Queen Elizabeth s speeches contextualize the play s treatment of popular and royal festivity communities of women including Amazons gossips and nuns marriage expectations and the supernatural Editorial features designed to help students read the play in light of the historical documents include an intelligent and engaging general introduction an introduction to each thematic group of documents thorough headnotes and glosses for the primary documents presented in modern spelling and an extensive bibliography

The Idea of the City in the Age of Shakespeare

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Shakespeare Quarterly (Volume 65, Number 4, Winter 2014)

Founded in by the Shakespeare Association of America Shakespeare Quarterly is a refereed journal committed to publishing articles in the vanguard of Shakespeare studies Submissions are double blinded The Quarterly produced by Folger Shakespeare Library in association with George Washington University features notes that bring to light new information on Shakespeare and his age issue and exchange sections for the latest ideas and controversies theater reviews of significant Shakespeare productions and book reviews to keep its readers current with Shakespeare criticism and scholarship SQ is a mine of new information and new insights Peter Stallybrass University of Pennsylvania br br The essays in the main body of this issue grew from papers delivered at the Folger Institute s memorable conference Shakespeare and the Problem of Biography held April as part of the Folger Shakespeare Library s multifaceted celebration of the th anniversary of Shakespeare s birth For me as I think for many of the conference participants being at the site of the world s largest collection of Shakespeare materials underscored what is at issue in thinking critically about biographical narratives centered upon a playwright whose work can never provide unassailable evidence of his inner life or religious and political beliefs no matter how hard biographically minded scholars have sometimes tried The documentary record assiduously recovered since the eighteenth century provides materials that generate contrasting even contradictory interpretations and the persistent nonacceptance by the anti Stratfordians At the conference questions of methodology genre anecdote and wish fulfillment the role of the archive the utility of psychoanalytic interpretation idealization and idolatry were broached in new and exciting ways and are included in the essays printed herein Gail Kern Paster Editor

The Henry IV Part 1 and Midsummer Night's Dream: Texts and Contexts

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Much Ado About Nothing

The action is set in Sicily where Don Pedro Prince of Aragon has recently defeated his half brother the bastard Don John in a military engagement Apparently reconciled they return to the capital Messina as guests of the Governor Leonato There Count Claudio a young nobleman serving in Don Pedro s army falls in love with Hero Leonato s daughter whom Don Pedro woos on his behalf The play s central plot shows how Don John maliciously deceives Claudio into believing that Hero has taken a lover on the eve of her marriage causing Claudio to repudiate her publicly at the altar

Romeo and Juliet

In i Romeo and Juliet i Shakespeare creates a world of violence and generational conflict in which two young people fall in love and die because of that love The story is rather extraordinary in that the normal problems faced by young lovers are here so very large It is not simply that the families of Romeo and Juliet disapprove of the lover s affection for each other rather the Montagues and the Capulets are on opposite sides in a blood feud and are trying to kill each other on the streets of Verona Every time a member of one of the two families dies in the fight his relatives demand the blood of his killer Because of the feud if Romeo is discovered with Juliet by her family he will be killed Once Romeo is banished the only way that Juliet can avoid being married to someone else is to take a potion that apparently kills her so that she is burried with the bodies of her slain relatives In this violent death filled world the movement of the story from love at first sight to the union of the lovers in death seems almost inevitable br p What is so striking about this play is that despite its extraordinary setting one perhaps reflecting Elizabethan attitudes about hot blooded Italians it has become the quintessential story of young love Because most young lovers feel that they have to overcome giant obstacles in order to be together because they feel that they would rather die than be kept apart and especially because the language Shakespeare gives his young lovers is so exquisite allowing them to say to each other just what we would all say to a lover if we only knew how it is easy to respond to this play as if it were about all young lovers rather than about a particular couple in a very unusual world When the play was rewritten in the eighteen century as i The History and Fall of Caius Marius i the violent setting became that of a particularly discordant period in classical Rome when Leonard Berstein rewrote the play as i West Side Story i he chose the violent world of New York street gangs p