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Shakespearean Sensations
Experiencing Literature in Early Modern England

$35.99 (C)

Katharine A. Craik, Tanya Pollard, Allison P. Hobgood, Allison Deutermann, Douglas Trevor, Hillary Nunn, Matthew Steggle, Thomas Rist, William Kerwin, Margaret Healy, Michael Schoenfeldt, Bruce R. Smith
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  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107559493

$ 35.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This strong and timely collection provides fresh insights into how Shakespeare's plays and poems were understood to affect bodies, minds and emotions. Contemporary criticism has had surprisingly little to say about the early modern period's investment in imagining literature's impact on feeling. Shakespearean Sensations brings together scholarship from a range of well-known and new voices to address this fundamental gap. The book includes a comprehensive introduction by Katharine A. Craik and Tanya Pollard and comprises three sections focusing on sensations aroused in the plays; sensations evoked in the playhouse; and sensations found in the imaginative space of the poems. With dedicated essays on Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello and Twelfth Night, the collection explores how seriously early modern writers took their relationship with their audiences and reveals new connections between early modern literary texts and the emotional and physiological experiences of theatregoers.

    • Proposes a new approach to literature by considering emotional and physical responses aroused by early modern plays and poems, appealing to those interested in theatre, literature and affect
    • Contextualises the responses of early modern audiences and readers within the history of medicine and psychology, appealing to those interested in the history of the body and emotions
    • Examines literature's impact through studying formal features such as generic conventions, appeals to readers/spectators and metatheatrical devices, appealing to those interested in the formal features of plays and poems
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The volume's contributors engage in meaningful dialogues with drama, poetry, and primary sources; with a growing body of secondary materials; and above all with one another. Both uninitiated readers and long-time students of embodiment in literature will find much to deepen their understanding of the physiological impacts of reading and playgoing … Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above."
    P. D. Collington, Choice

    "… while each chapter offers a fascinating series of close readings in its own right, as a whole the book reminds us of the importance of thinking about theatre and reading as transitive acts - that is, things that impact upon something else."
    Erin Sullivan, Cahiers Élisabéthains

    "Scholars and students alike will benefit from the lucid writing and strong, productive reinterpretations to be found in these essays - and in many other arguments throughout the collection as well. Together, the essays demonstrate that early modern conceptions of the body as a porous, volatile, affectible organism have surprising continuities as well as discontinuities with our own."
    Jeremy Lopez, Sharp News

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107559493
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: imagining audiences Katharine A. Craik and Tanya Pollard
    Part I. Plays:
    1. Feeling fear in Macbeth Allison P. Hobgood
    2. Hearing Iago's withheld confession Allison Deutermann
    3. Self-love, spirituality, and the senses in Twelfth Night Douglas Trevor
    Part II. Playhouses:
    4. Conceiving tragedy Tanya Pollard
    5. Playing with appetite in early modern comedy Hillary Nunn
    6. Notes towards an analysis of early modern applause Matthew Steggle
    7. Catharsis as 'purgation' in Shakespearean drama Thomas Rist
    Part III. Poems:
    8. Epigrammatic commotions William Kerwin
    9. Poetic 'making' and moving the soul Margaret Healy
    10. Shakespearean pain Michael Schoenfeldt
    Afterword: senses of an ending Bruce R. Smith.

  • Editors

    Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
    Katharine A. Craik is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern Literature at Oxford Brookes University. Her publications include Reading Sensations in Early Modern England (2007) and an edition of Jane Collier's An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting (2006). She has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, Studies in English Literature, The Seventeenth Century and The Huntington Library Quarterly. She has been working for ten years as a librettist and her first opera was commissioned in 2004 by English National Opera. Her most recent project, an opera entitled The Quicken Tree based on Spenser's The Faerie Queene, premièred in Edinburgh in March 2011.

    Tanya Pollard, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
    Tanya Pollard is Professor of English at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her publications include Drugs and Theater in Early Modern England (2005), Shakespeare's Theater: A Sourcebook (2004), essays in journals including Shakespeare Studies and Renaissance Drama and chapters in numerous volumes including, most recently, The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare (2011) and The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy (2010). She is currently writing a book about the sixteenth-century reception of Greek plays and their impact on English conceptions of dramatic genres.


    Katharine A. Craik, Tanya Pollard, Allison P. Hobgood, Allison Deutermann, Douglas Trevor, Hillary Nunn, Matthew Steggle, Thomas Rist, William Kerwin, Margaret Healy, Michael Schoenfeldt, Bruce R. Smith

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