Give sorrow words.

(Macbeth IV.iii.209)

This week’s Thursday seminar by Dr Richard Meek is entitled ‘”Grief best is pleased with grief’s society”: Shakespeare and Early Modern Sympathy’. Richard is currently working with the Institute’s Dr Erin Sullivan on an edited collection of essays entitled The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Eearly Modern Literature and Culture to be published by Manchester University Press later this year. His research interests lie in the history of emotion, especially representations of sympathy and empathy in early modern literature. We look forward to the seminar and eventually receiving his forthcoming monograph which is provisionally entitled The Relativity of Sorrows.
In 2013 Erin held a six-week Universitas21 Fellowship at the University of Queensland’s ‘node’ in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of the Emotions, where she pursued research on this book project and others, also giving a public lecture at the UQ Art Gallery, and talking about her work on Australian national radio.

If you would like to read more on the subject of Shakespeare grief and emotions then the SIL has a number of relevant texts:

Speaking grief in English literary culture: Shakespeare to Milton, eds. Margo Swiss and David A. Kent. (Pittsburgh, Pa.: Duquesne University Press, c2002) (PR 428.G7)

Goodland, Katharine, Female mourning in medieval and Renaissance English drama: from the raising of Lazarus to King Lear (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006) (PR658.W6)

Vaught, Jennifer C., Masculinity and emotion in early modern English literature (Aldershot, Hants, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007) (PR 428.M2)

Dubrow, Heather, Shakespeare and domestic loss: forms of deprivation, mourning, and recuperation (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999) (PR 3069.D3)

Bonar, C.J,. Violence, cruelty, grief and beauty: a reclaiming of extremes in Renaissance revenge tragedy Dissertation (M.A. in Shakespeare Studies)-University of Birmingham, Shakespeare Institute. 1993 (Diss.SI1993.MA )

Döring, Tobias, Performances of mourning in Shakespearean theatre and early modern culture (Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) (PR 658.M68)

Slights, William W. E., The heart in the age of Shakespeare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008) (PR 428.H43)

Sullivan, Erin, ‘A Disease unto Death: Sadness in the Time of Shakespeare’ in Emotions and Health, 1200-1700, edited by Elena Carrera (Leiden : Brill 2013) (RC 455.4)

Mrs Siddons 1804 as ConstanceConstance: Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head,
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows’ cure!
King John (III.iv.98)

Karin Brown, Shakespeare Institute Librarian


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