© 2017

Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts

Politics, Ecologies, and Form

  • Amanda Bailey
  • Mario DiGangi

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Amanda Bailey, Mario DiGangi
    Pages 1-23
  3. Embodying the Political

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
  4. Affective Ecologies and Environments

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-67
    2. Julian Yates
      Pages 69-88
    3. Benedict S. Robinson
      Pages 109-127
  5. Affective Form

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 223-234

About this book


The first book to put contemporary affect theory into conversation with early modern studies, this volume demonstrates how questions of affect illuminate issues of cognition, political agency, historiography, and scientific thought in early modern literature and culture. Engaging various historical and theoretical perspectives, the essays in this volume bring affect to bear on early modern representations of bodies, passions, and social relations by exploring: the role of embodiment in political subjectivity and action; the interactions of human and non-human bodies within ecological systems; and the social and physiological dynamics of theatrical experience. Examining the complexly embodied experiences of leisure, sympathy, staged violence, courtiership, envy, suicide, and many other topics, the contributors open up new ways of understanding how Renaissance writers thought about the capacities, pleasures, and vulnerabilities of the human body. 


Affect Affect Theory Britain cultural theory culture history of literature literary theory literature

Editors and affiliations

  • Amanda Bailey
    • 1
  • Mario DiGangi
    • 2
  1. 1.EnglishUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.The Graduate Center, CUNYCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

About the editors

Amanda Bailey is Professor of English at the University of Maryland, USA. She is the author of Of Bondage: Debt, Property, and Personhood in Early Modern England, Masculinity and the Metropolis of Vice, 1550-1650, co-edited with Roze Hentschell, and Flaunting: Style and the Subversive Male Body in Renaissance England.

Mario DiGangi is Professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is the author of The Homoerotics of Early Modern Drama and Sexual Types: Embodiment, Agency, and Dramatic Character from Shakespeare to Shirley. He has edited Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Winter’s Tale

Bibliographic information


“The book focuses more on distilling an early modern theory of affect than on employing modern theories of affect aimed at reading manifestations of affective subjectivities engendered by different materialist phenomena, and corporeal and psychological responses to them. … The combination of new scholarship, original connections between ideas and texts, intellectually stimulating criticism, and elegant writing makes Affect Theory a volume of essays that will be read and re-read by anyone working on affect theory.” (Goran Stanivukovic, Renaissance and Reformation, Vol. 42 (1), 2019)

“Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts successfully ‘use[s] affect as a prism through which to read early modern cultural, economic, and political phenomena’ … . In doing so, it contributes substantially to scholarly efforts to historicize affect and emotion, and to ongoing deliberations on the relationship between thinking and feeling.” (Ronda Arab, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 72 (1), 2019)