Library News

WU Author: Allison Hobgood

The English Department is delighted to invite you to celebrate the launch of Professor Hobgood’s new books, Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press) and Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (Ohio State University Press). hobgood Professor Hobgood will discuss the process of writing and publishing both a monograph and co-edited collection of scholarly essays. Light refreshments will be served.

Date: April 2nd
Time: 4:30-5:30pm
Hatfield Room, Hatfield Library

Sponsored by the English Department

Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England

Allison P. Hobgood tells a new story about the emotional experiences of theatregoers in Renaissance England. Through detailed case studies of canonical plays by Shakespeare, Jonson, Kyd and Heywood, the reader will discover what it felt like to be part of performances in English theatre and appreciate the key role theatregoers played in the life of early modern drama. How were spectators moved – by delight, fear or shame, for example – and how did their own reactions in turn make an impact on stage performances? Addressing these questions and many more, this book discerns not just how theatregoers were altered by drama’s affective encounters, but how they were undeniable influences upon those encounters. Overall, Hobgood reveals a unique collaboration between the English world and stage, one that significantly reshapes the ways we watch, read and understand early modern drama.

“Allison Hobgood’s persuasive addition to the burgeoning study of affect and emotion in Renaissance culture offers a provocative new reading of some familiar plays. Her argument that early modern spectators and plays are involved in a reciprocal emotional contagion makes a powerful contribution to our changing conception of theater audiences in the period.”
-Emma Smith, University of Oxford

Recovering Disability in Early Modern England

While early modern selfhood has been explored during the last two decades via a series of historical identity studies involving class, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality, until very recently there has been little engagement with disability and disabled selves in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. This omission is especially problematic insofar as representations of disabled bodies and minds serve as some of the signature features in English Renaissance texts. Recovering Disability in Early Modern England explores how recent conversations about difference in the period have either overlooked or misidentified disability representations. It also presents early modern disability studies as a new theoretical lens that can reanimate scholarly dialogue about human variation and early modern subjectivities even as it motivates more politically invested classroom pedagogies. The ten essays in this collection range across genre, scope, and time, including examinations of real-life court dwarfs and dwarf narrators in Edmund Spenser’s poetry; disability in Aphra Behn’s assessment of gender and femininity; disability humor, Renaissance jest books, and cultural ideas about difference; madness in revenge tragedies; Spenserian allegory and impairment; the materiality of literary blindness; feigned disability in Jonsonian drama; political appropriation of Richard III in the postcommunist Czech Republic; the Book of Common Prayeras textual accommodation for cognitive disability; and Thomas Hobbes’s and John Locke’s inherently ableist conceptions of freedom and political citizenship.