1st Edition

Shakespeare and Emotional Expression Finding Feeling through Colour

By Bríd Phillips Copyright 2022
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    Shakespeare and Emotional Expression offers an exciting new way of considering emotional transactions in Shakespearean drama. The book is significant in its scope and originality as it uses the innovative medium of colour terms and references to interrogate the early modern emotional register. By examining contextual and cultural influences, this work explores the impact these influences have on the relationship between colour and emotion and argues for the importance of considering chromatic references as a means to uncover emotional significances.

    Using a broad range of documents, it offers a wider understanding of affective expression in the early modern period through a detailed examination of several dramatic works. Although colour meanings fluctuate, by paying particular attention to contextual clues and the historically specific cultural situations of Shakespeare’s plays, this book uncovers emotional significances that are not always apparent to modern audiences and readers. Through its examination of the nexus between the history of emotions and the social and cultural uses of colour in early modern drama, Shakespeare and Emotional Expression adds to our understanding of the expressive and affective possibilities in Shakespearean drama.

    Introduction: The expression of emotion through systems of colour: Uncovering ways of feeling

    Chapter One: ‘And weep to hear him speak’: Colour, emotion, and rhetoric in Titus Andronicus

    Chapter 2: ‘For blushing cheeks by faults are bred / And fears by pale white shown’: Reading the face for colour and emotion in Love’s Labour’s Lost

    Chapter 3: ‘There’s something in his soul / O’er which his melancholy sits on brood’: Senses, science, and the Imagination

    Chapter 4: ‘Not black in my mind, though yellow in my legs’: Bodies, clothes, colour, and passions in Twelfth Night

    Chapter 5: ‘O well-painted passion’: Cultural commonplaces of colour and affective patterns in Othello



    Bríd Phillips is a senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Australia. She has a PhD in Shakespearean Studies and her research has been supported by the Australian Research Council, Centre of Excellence for The History of Emotions. Recent publications include Hamlet and Emotions, edited with Paul Megna and Robert White (2019) and ‘“Devils Will the Blackest Sins Put On”: The Emotional Register of Colour’ in Matters of Engagement: Emotions, Identity, and Cultural Contact in the Premodern World (2020).