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Cover of Emotion in the Tudor Court by Bradley J. Irish
January 2018
Northwestern University Press

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Emotion in the Tudor Court

Literature, History, and Early Modern Feeling
Bradley J. Irish

Deploying literary analysis, theories of emotion from the sciences and humanities, and an archival account of Tudor history, "Emotion in the Tudor Court" examines how literature both reflects and constructs the emotional dynamics of life in the Renaissance court. In it, Bradley J. Irish argues that emotionality is a foundational framework through which historical subjects embody and engage their world, and thus can serve as a fundamental lens of social and textual analysis.

Spanning the 16th century, "Emotion in the Tudor Court" explores Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and Henrician satire; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and elegy; Sir Philip Sidney and Elizabethan pageantry; and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and factional literature. It demonstrates how the dynamics of disgust, envyrejection and dread, as they are understood in the modern affective sciences, can be seen to guide literary production in the early modern court.

By combining Renaissance concepts of emotion with modern research in the social and natural sciences, "Emotion in the Tudor Court" takes a transdisciplinary approach to yield fascinating and robust ways to illuminate both literary studies and cultural history. 

This is an Open Access title, which may be downloaded for free at the following link: https://mla.hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:19611/.


Bradley J. Irish is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University.

Praise for this book

"Irish has produced a fascinating and eloquent book on a topic of enduring interest to early modern scholars."

Peter C. Herman
Author of "A Short History of Early Modern England: British Literature in Context"

"'Emotion in the Tudor Court' rereads the intensely social literature of the Tudor court via up-to-date scientific and social-scientific research on emotion. In doing so, it moves beyond the Historicist project of defamiliarizing the past without ever lapsing into scientistic reductionism. Irish's smart, engaging book is at once a carefully researched study of Tudor literature and an innovative methodological blueprint for future socio-cultural histories of emotion."

Curtis Perry
Author of "Literature and Favoritism in Early Modern England"