- Course Number: ENGL 231
- Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 231
- Quarter: Fall 2019
In this course we will consider Shakespeare’s feelings, or rather the emotional and affective relations and events, moods and experiences he conjures for his audiences on the early modern stage. Our discussions will touch on everything from the ancient rhetorical tradition of ethopoeia to contemporary affect theory as we address the various affective technologies Shakespeare employs. Embracing the enabling limits of the quarter system, we will read only a few of Shakespeare’s plays: King Lear, Timon of Athens, Twelfth Night, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, maybe Hamlet. Our reading will also take up the history of emotions – as well as what it means that emotions have a history – with a particular focus on the relation of reason to the passions. As we approach this history, we will attend to the thought of figures such as Aristotle and Seneca, Thomas Wright and David Hume. We will also discuss more recent interventions in thought concerning emotion, including those of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, Sara Ahmed, and Sianne Ngai as we discuss topics ranging from the passion of the player to anger and stoicism, from the affective space of the stage to mourning, melancholy, and the experience of empathy.