Archive for the 'CHE' Category


Hamlet Ghost Scenes

Lawrence Olivier (1948)

John Gielgud (1964)

Rodney Bennett (1980)

Franco Zeffirelli (1990)

Kenneth Branagh (1996)

Gregory Doran (2009)


Literary Emotion Methodologies Study Day

I’ve just come back from the East Coast after attending the CHE’s Literary Emotion Study Day at the University of Melbourne.


The session began with a talk by Peter Holbrook (UQ) on ‘Process Philosophy, Literature and the Emotions’. Peter drew attention to the work of Henri Bergson, citing from Bergson’s ‘Perception of Change’ (1911), and Creative Evolution (1907). These works were rather alien to me as the only branch of Bergsonian theory familiar to me is his theory of humor, which I’ve utilised in a forthcoming essay on the slasher film. In relation to the study of the emotions, Bergson states that ‘movement is reality itself’ : likewise, in appraising depictions of emotions in literary texts, one should always consider the fact that emotions are always in flux.


Rebecca McNamara talked about the subject of emotional communities and genre. How do emotional features of a genre shift across time? Can the concept of genre be regarded as an emotional community? Thinking about this with regards to the development of eighteenth century Gothic literature, can we think of the Graveyard Poets as occupying the space of an imagined ’emotional community’? Food for thought.


Stephanie Trigg then addressed the concept of the emotive in William Reddy’s work. She drew on some interesting examples to show how figurative language is often a characteristic feature of literary texts. If anything, Stephanie’s examples highlights the importance of ‘getting back to the text’ – looking at texts closely and focusing on close readings while paying attention to content and theme. Her examples resonated with Meridee Bailey’s approach the the following paper – Meridee drew attention to the benefits of utilising linguistic techniques as a means of close textual analysis. Note to self – check out Michael Halliday’s work on systemic functional linguistics!


We then heard from Aleksondra Huiltquist about the ‘amatory mode’ in eighteenth century works, in her paper ‘The Passions and Literary Love in the Eighteenth Century’. Kudos to Alex for being a wonderful organiser too! Finally, Grace Moore’s paper looked at campfires and emotions. Hers had a particular Australian emphasis on campfires in nineteenth century.


This symposium once again highlighted the challenges of coming up with a concrete working methodology for the study of emotions. The word ‘affect’ was thrown around quite a bit. Periodisation continues to be a challenge – everyone works in different time periods! But most importantly, we were mostly in agreement that in analysing the depiction of emotions in literary works, we can never assume that emotions are static. Note to self – changes are also important!


Sourcing Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World


CHE‘s biannual conference is currently underway at UWA. Running from the 27th to the 29th of June here in Perth, the keynotes for this conference are:

James Amelang (Universidad Autónoma)

Tim Carter (University of North Carolina)

Sarah McNamer (Georgetown University)

Adrian Randolph (Dartmouth College)


Click here for a link to the conference’s program/abstract list.

Selected talks will also be livestreamed in a bid to engage a wider academic and public audience. Check out the livestream website for streaming details and more information.

The usual suspects apply – the conference can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.



Histories of Emotion Blog

A long overdue post. The ARC Centre of the History of the Emotions has a blog that is up and running. Check it out here to know more about the stuff the Centre’s research associates are currently working on.


Free for all: ARC-funded research now open to the public (The Conversation)

Good news for all. The Australian Research Council has announced the implementation of an open access policy for all research that is funded by the ARC. This is a great move, one that grants the appropriate level of accessibility to publicly funded research. With the interesting research projects that are undertaken at the Centre for the History of Emotions, allowing public access will definitely be a boon to expanding the impact of the Centre’s work.

I’ve always been a proponent of open access publishing. There is no point in imposing barriers to research, particularly when certain scholarly publishers obtain high levels of profit for essentially being middlemen. After all, it is researchers and reviewers who are doing the hard work Researchers and reviewers should, in an ideal situation, actually be remunerated for their contributions to the academic community rather than being taxed for it. These lines make me sound like an idealist, and I have had discussions with others who have differing opinions. But if stripped down to the basics, aren’t we providing a ‘product’ through our research? Logic suggests that we should be paid for our ‘products’ rather than being taxed for it, or having restrictions placed on it.


Shakespeare and Emotions: Day 1

The conference began with an interesting collaboratory on teaching Shakespeare. I opted to stick around for Eileen A Joy‘s talk, which I will probably devote an entire post later on to.

We were then treated to vignettes from several productions of early modern drama on the New Fortune stage.









Professor Jane Davidson introducing the performers, with Prof Steve Chinna in the background.

We started off with excerpts from Middleton’s The Changeling, which was directed by Steve and performed in the Dolphin Theatre last year.








She that in life and love refuses me,
In death and shame my partner she shall be.

– Deflores

I was reminded of Jackson Hart’s performance as Deflores. He would make a great Iago!
We then got a glimpse of bits from Shakespeare WA’s performance of the Tempest. Didn’t get to catch it earlier in the year but it was an interesting take on the postcolonial aspect of the text. For this particular performance, two Aboriginal performers were cast as Caliban and Ariel respectively, and bits of the play involved traditional Aboriginal music. And Stephano, the drunk, was cast as a woman instead of a man.

But it was Trevor Ryan’s recitation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 44 in Noongar that really captivated me:

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought, 
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay. 
No matter then although my foot did stand 
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee; 
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land 
As soon as think the place where he would be. 
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought, 
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone, 
But that, so much of earth and water wrought,
I must attend time’s leisure with my moan, 
Receiving nought by elements so slow
But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

Trevor Ryan initially delivered this reading in the UK, and he talked about how the sonnet’s reference to earth and land has special significance to him as a person with an Aboriginal background. Brilliant stuff.

Later in the evening, I was having dinner with a friend whilst discussing academic matters and Shakespeare, when a thought struck me. For all intents and purposes, one could describe Shakespeare as an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDER. Shakespeare takes the piss out of monarchs and fools, men and women, princes and paupers alike. Oh and let’s not forget that he’s not above bringing himself into the picture, the little bastard:

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,
And Will to boot, and Will in over-plus;                    (Sonnet 135:1-2)

So thou, being rich in Will, add to thy Will
One will of mine, to make thy large will more.
Let no unkind, no fair beseechers kill;
Think all but one, and me in that one Will.               (Sonnet 135:11-14)

Swear to thy blind soul that I was thy Will,
And will, thy soul knows, is admitted there;
Thus far for love, my love-suit, sweet, fulfil.
Will, will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.                   (Sonnet 136:2-6)

Make but my name thy love, and love that still,
And then thou lovest me for my name is ‘Will.’       (Sonnet 136:13-14)


He refers to himself as “Will”. And this has caused a point of contention between me and my supervisor. She insists on calling him Will. I prefer Bill. Yes, it is probably coming across as a very Americanized shortening of a first name, but I think with Bill, or Billy, it sounds more…..masculine?

“Gangsta Bill”

But back to the point about postcolonialism and The Tempest. Yes, Prospero might be an analogue for colonial power, but who really owns the island? Prospero? Caliban? Sycorax? If we are to go that far back, then Sycorax, too can be considered to be an outsider – she was not from the island! Could it be Ariel? Food for thought…


History of Suicide is worthwhile, whatever the Coalition says (Rebecca McNamara)

A response by Rebecca McNamara in The Conversation to the article cited in my previous post:


'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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