The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare

Steven Mullaney

The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare
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Steven Mullaney

216 pages | 1 line drawing | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2015
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226547633 Will Publish May 2015
The crises of faith that fractured Reformation Europe also caused crises of individual and collective identity. Structures of feeling as well as structures of belief were transformed; there was a reformation of social emotions as well as a Reformation of faith.

As Steven Mullaney shows in The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare, Elizabethan popular drama played a significant role in confronting the uncertainties and unresolved traumas of Elizabethan Protestant England. Shakespeare and his contemporaries—audiences as well as playwrights—reshaped popular drama into a new form of embodied social, critical, and affective thought. Examining a variety of works, from revenge plays to Shakespeare’s first history tetralogy and beyond, Mullaney explores how post-Reformation drama not only exposed these faultlines of society on stage but also provoked playgoers in the audience to acknowledge all the differences they shared with one another. He demonstrates that our most lasting works of culture remain powerful largely because of their deep roots in the emotional landscape of their times.
Jean E. Howard, Columbia University
The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare is an important book by an important critic. Mullaney gives historical depth to the affective turn in early modern studies, linking Reformation texts to the emotions they generated. What he has to say is always subtle, revelatory, and rhetorically brilliant.”
William N. West, Northwestern University
The Reformation of Emotions in the Age of Shakespeare is a powerful and provocative meditation on the innovative cultural forms and emotional processes that emerged from the violent affective dislocations of memory, identity, and community of the English Reformation. Mullaney addresses issues of wide interest among scholars of early modern literature and culture through evocative readings of both familiar and unfamiliar plays that are consistently surprising, insightful, and original.”
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