Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture

Edited by Cora Fox, Bradley J. Irish and Cassie M. Miura

Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3713-5
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2021
  • BIC Category: Early Modern Literature, Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 16th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 17th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800


What did it mean to be happy in early modern Europe? Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture includes essays that reframe historical understandings of emotional life in the Renaissance, focusing on under-studied feelings such as mirth, solidarity, and tranquillity. Methodologically diverse and interdisciplinary, these essays draw from the history of emotions, affect theory and the contemporary social and cognitive sciences to reveal rich and sustained cultural attention in the early modern period to these positive feelings. The book also highlights culturally distinct negotiations of the problematic binary between what constitutes positive and negative emotions. A comprehensive introduction and afterword open multiple paths for research into the histories of good feeling and their significances for understanding present constructions of happiness and wellbeing.


Introduction - Cora Fox, Bradley J. Irish, and Cassie M. Miura

Part I: Rewriting discourses of pleasure

1 Happy Hamlet - Richard Strier
2 Therapeutic laughter in Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy - Cassie M. Miura
3 The pleasure of the text: reading and happiness in Rabelais and Montaigne - Ian Frederick Moulton
4 Pleasure and the 'rustic life' - Ullrich Langer

Part II: Imagining happy communities

5 The theology of cheer, Erasmus to Shakespeare - Timothy Hampton
6 'My crown is called content': positive, negative, and political affects in Shakespeare's first tetralogy - Paul Joseph Zajac
7 Solidarity as ritual in the late Elizabethan court: faction, emotion, and the Essex Circle - Bradley J. Irish
8 Merriness, affect, and community in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor - Cora Fox

Part III: Forms, attachment, and ambivalence

9 Happy objects and earthly pleasure in Thomas Traherne's devotional poetry - Leila Watkins
10 Trust and disgust: the precariousness of positive emotions in Webster's The Duchess of Malfi -
Lalita Pandit Hogan
11 'My heart is satisfied': revenge, justice, and satisfaction in The Spanish Tragedy - Eonjoo Park
12 All's Well That Ends Well? Happiness, ambivalence, and story genre - Patrick Colm Hogan

Afterword - Michael Schoenfeldt



Cora Fox is Associate Professor of English at Arizona State University

Bradley J. Irish is Associate Professor of English at Arizona State University

Cassie M. Miura is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Division of Culture, Arts, and Communication at University of Washington, Tacoma

Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture

Edited by Cora Fox, Bradley J. Irish, Cassie M. Miura

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

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