Benedict Robinson

Position title: Solmsen Fellow (2013-2014)

English, Stony Brook University

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Grammars of Mood: How the Seventeenth Century Invented a New Language of the Emotions

This project draws on the histories of language, literature, philosophy, and science to trace the seventeenth-century origins of a modern structure of the emotions. On the evidence of both language and literature I build a phenomenology of early modern experience, comparing it with the technical discourses the period used to theorize emotion: medicine, philosophy, rhetoric, theology. I argue that the period generated a philology and a poetics of emotion that helped shape the forms of feeling we still talk about today, and that the study of language and literature have a crucial contribution to make to current interdisciplinary conversations about emotion.

Solmsen Fellow Benedict S. Robinson is Associate Professor of English at Stony Brook University. His first book, Islam and Early Modern English Literature, was published in 2007 by Palgrave. He has published articles in Shakespeare Quarterly, ELH, SEL, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and elsewhere. He is currently under contract with Arden Early Modern Drama for an edition of John Webster’s The White Devil.