© 2020

Emotional Settings in Early Modern Pedagogical Culture

Hamlet, The Faerie Queene, and Arcadia


Table of contents

About this book


This book is notable for bringing together humanist schooling and familial instruction under the banner of emotions and for studying seminal works of early modern literature within this new analytical context. It thus furnishes unique ways to think about two closely interrelated moral imperatives: shaping boys into civil subjects; and fashioning heroic agency and selfhood in literature. In tracing the emotional dynamics of the humanist classroom, this book shows just how thoroughly school could accommodate resistance to authority and foster unruly boys. In gauging the emotional pressures at work in filial relationships, it shows how profoundly sons could experience patriarchal authority as provisional, negotiable, or damaging. In turning to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Spenser’s Prince Arthur, and Sidney’s Arcadian heroes, Emotional Settings highlights the ways in which the respective emotional and moral imperatives of home and school could bring conflicting pressures to bear in the formation of heroic agency – and at what cost. Engaging and accessible, this book will appeal to scholars interested in early modern literature, pedagogy, histories of emotion, and histories of the family, as well as to graduate students and advanced undergraduate students in these fields.


pedagogy emotions humanism family Shakespeare Spenser Sidney

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English, Theatre, Film & MediaUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

About the authors

Judith Owens is Professor of English at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, where her research and teaching focus on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. She is the author of a monograph, Enabling Engagements: Edmund Spenser and the Poetics of Patronage (2002), and articles and book chapters on Spenser and on Walter Ralegh. She is co-editor, with Glenn Clark and Greg Smith, of City Limits: Perspectives on the Historical European City (2010). 

Bibliographic information


“Emotional Settings in Early Modern Pedagogical Culture: ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Faerie Queene’, and ‘Arcadia’ is an innovative study of these seminal works of early modern literature. … Owens offers fresh perspectives on these issues, suggesting the potential to read a range of early modern texts in new ways via this approach.” (Edel Lamb, The Spenser Review, March 1, 2021)