Stephanie Trigg

Stephanie Trigg is a Foundation Chief Investigator (2011–2018) and leader of the Shaping the Modern Program (2011–2018) and Director of the Melbourne Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE). The Shaping the Modern Program explores the legacy of emotions as they developed in Europe between 1100 and 1800, with a particular focus on the long-ranging history of pre-modern European emotional regimes as played out in colonial and modern Australia; the contact between European emotional culture and indigenous cultures of Australia and the region; modern Australian perceptions of past emotions, especially as played out in literature, drama, art and music; and the emotional dimensions of environmental history.

Stephanie's own work for the Centre is focused on two major projects: first, the expression of emotion on the human face, in poetic, dramatic and narrative texts from Chaucer, Shakespeare and the realist novel through to graphic fiction and the novel of autism; and second, medieval, early modern and modern emotional and affective responses to two natural phenomena: fire and stone.

On 21 May 2015 Stephanie spoke at Sydney TEDx in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House before a live audience of 2300. The talk was streamed live to a worldwide audience on over 150 sites.

Stephanie’s talk was titled, ‘What does normal look like?’ She spoke about the early fifteenth-century poet Thomas Hoccleve, who suffered a nervous breakdown in 1414 and struggled to convince his friends and colleagues he had recovered. She drew comparisons between his story and the experience of anxiety and depression today: the history of social response to mental illness is remarkably consistent from the Middle Ages to contemporary culture.

View TEDx Hoccleve talk here



+61 3 8344 5504
The University of Melbourne Staff Profile

Research projects

Speaking Faces: Describing the Facial Expression of Emotion

Fire and Affect: Shaping Modern Emotions

Victorian Bluestone: An Affective Cultural History

Selected Publications

Prendergast, T. A. and S. Trigg. Affective Medievalism: Love, Abjection, and Discontent. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019.

Trigg, S. J. ‘When Literature Takes You by Surprise, or, The Case Against Trigger Warnings’. In The Conversation Yearbook 2018, edited by John Watson, 99–101. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2018. (Not refereed). Read here.

Trigg, S. ‘Opening The Canterbury Tales. In Chaucer and the Subject of Form, edited by T. A. Prendergast and J. Rosenfeld, pp. 182–200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Trigg, S. J. ‘Afterword: Reading Historical Emotions’. In Affective and Emotional Economies in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, edited by Andreea Marculescu and Charles-Louis Morand Metivier, 247–51. Palgrave History of the Emotions Series. New York: Palgrave, 2018.

Trigg. S. ‘Affect Theory’. In Early Modern Emotions: An Introduction, edited by  S. Broomhall, pp. 10‒13. London and New York: Routledge, 2017.

Downes, S., and S. J. Trigg, eds. ‘Facing Up to the History of Emotions’, special issue, postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 8.1 (2017).

Trigg, S. J. ‘“A good hater”: Writing About the Emotions with George Eliot and A. S. Byatt’. Emotions: History, Culture, Society 1.1 (2017): 91‒111.

Trigg, S. J. ‘Bluestone and the City: Writing an Emotional History’. Melbourne Historical Journal 44.1 (2017): 41‒53.

Trigg, S. J. ‘The Biennial Chaucer Lecture “Chaucer’s Silent Discourse”’. Studies in the Age of Chaucer 39 (2017): 31–56.

Trigg. S. J. ‘Medievalism and Theories of Temporality’. In The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism, edited by L. D’Arcens, pp. 196–209. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016

Holsinger, B. and S. Trigg, eds. ‘After Eco: Novel Medievalisms’. Special Issue, postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 7.2 (2016).

Trigg, S. ‘Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London: Trauma and Emotion, Private and Public’. In Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse, 1400–1700, edited by J. Spinks and C. Zika, pp. 341–56. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Trigg, A. ‘Magna Carta in Print in the Sixteenth Century’. Papers on Parliament, Department of the Senate, Parliament of Australia, 65 (2016): 75‒83.

Trigg. S. ‘“Language in her Eye”: The Expressive Face of Criseyde/Cressida’. In Love History and Emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare: Troilus and Criseyde and Troilus and Cressida, edited by Andrew James Johnston, Elisabeth Kempf and Russell West-Pavlov, pp. 94‒108. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016.

Trigg, S. Shame and Honor: A Vulgar History of the Order of the Garter. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 978-0-8122-4391-8.

Trigg, S. and J. Cohen. ‘Fire’. postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies 4. Special issue 'Ecomaterialism'. (2013): 80‒92. DOI:10.1057/pmed.2012.40.

Trigg, S. 'Langland’s Tears: Poetry, Emotion, and Mouvance'. Yearbook of Langland Studies 26 (2012): 27‒34. (Hard copy printed and published online in August 2013).

D'Arcens, L., A. Lynch and S.Trigg (eds). 'Medievalism, Nationalism, Colonialism: Introduction'. Australian Literary Studies 26.3‒4 (2011): 1-5.

D'Arcens, L., A. Lynch & S. Trigg (eds). Australian Literary Studies 26.2 (2011): 36‒53 (published in 2012). Special issue: 'Medievalism, Colonialism, Nationalism'.

Selected Presentations

Conference Paper: ‘Emotional Practices: Chaucer, Veronica and the History of Emotions’, Twenty-First Biennial International Congress of the New Chaucer Society, University of Toronto, Canada, 10–15 July 2018.

Keynote: ‘“Ransakid” by Death: Body, Soul and Image in Hoccleve’s Learn to Die’, International Hoccleve Society conference ‘The Making of Thomas Hoccleve’, University of Manitoba, Canada, 6–8 July 2018. Invited.

Conference Paper: ‘The Changing Discourse of the Face: Silent Expressions from Medieval Poetry to Contemporary Social Media’, Third International Conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions ‘The Future of Emotions/Conversations Without Borders’, The University of Western Australia, 14–15 June 2018.

Plenary Presentation: ‘Sense of Touch: Absolutely Similar’, George Washington University Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute symposium ‘Touching the Past (Again)’, Washington DC, USA, 2‒3 March 2018. Invited.

Keynote Lecture: ‘Chaucer’s Voices: Anya Seton to Brantley Bryant’, ‘Historical Fictions/Identities’ symposium, La Trobe University, 3 November 2017.

Seminar Paper: ‘Chaucerian Voice in the Twenty-First Century’, Macquarie University, 12 October 2017.

Workshop Presentation: ‘Durer’s Veronica’, ‘Emotions and Material Culture’ Melbourne-Manchester Consortium workshop, The University of Manchester, 5–6 July 2017.

Panel Discussant: ‘Hoccleve and the Rehearsal of Emotion, Medieval Studies congress, Western Michigan University, 10–13 May 2017.

Conference Paper: ‘The Verbal Image of Love in Medieval English Literature’, ‘The Emotions of Love in the Art of Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe’ CHE/NGV conference, UMelb, 4‒6 May 2017.

Masterclass Presentation: ‘The Exemplary Love of Lancelot and Guenevere’ ‘Love: Art of Emotion’ masterclass, National Gallery of Victoria, 19 April 2017.

Seminar Paper: ‘Opening The Canterbury Tales: Form and Formalism in The General Prologue’, ‘Medieval Guild’ seminar, Columbia University, 14 October 2016.

Seminar Paper: ‘Cloudy Thoughts: Facial Expression and Emotion in Chaucer’s Poetry’, ‘Affect’ seminar, Columbia University, 5 October 2016.

Symposium Paper: ‘Opening The Canterbury Tales: Form and Formalism in the General Prologue’, Yale University Graduate Colloquium, Yale University, 23 September 2016.

Symposium Paper: ‘Public Medievalists: Hoccleve and Me in the City’, ‘Feeling (for) the Premodern’ CHE symposium, UWA, 2‒3 September 2016.

Keynote Lecture: ‘The Language of Love on the Human Face’, Romance Writers of Australia conference, Flinders University, 21 August 2016

Keynote Lecture: ‘Chaucer’s Silent Discourse’, 20th Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society, Queen Mary University of London, 10–15 July 2016.

Seminar: ‘Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London: “this is what it felt like to be alive”’, English and Theatre Studies seminar, UMelb, 11 March 2015

Conference paper: ‘The Mutable Face of Fortune in Medieval Art and Literature’, ‘Reading the Face: Image, Text and Emotion’: CHE Shaping the Modern Program collaboratory, UMelb, 2–4 June 2015.

Conference paper: ‘“Þe borȝ brittened and brent to brondeȜ and askez”: The City on Fire in Middle English Literature’, London Chaucer Conference, London, UK, 10–11 July 2015

Conference paper: ‘“who will read, must first learn spelling”: Reading the Face in Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella’, ANZAMEMS 10th Biennial International Conference, UQ, 14–18 July 2015.

Study Day Paper: ‘Opening the Canterbury Tales: Time, Space and Faces in the General Prologue’, ‘Emotions in Middle English Literature IV: Places, Spaces, Faces’: CHE study day, UMelb, 28 August 2015.

Symposium Paper: ‘Magna Carta in Print in the Sixteenth Century’, ‘Magna Carta – 800’ symposium, Department of Senate, Rule of Law Institute of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra, 30 October 2015. Invited.

Exhibition launch: ‘Raw Emotion: Contemporary and Historic Works from The Cunningham Dax Collection’, at the Dax Centre, UMelb, 12 November 2014. Invited.

Chair: Public Panels: ‘How the “selfie” performs across time and place’, 15 October 2014; and ‘Lost and Found: Ethics, Subjecthood and Contemporary Art’, 22 October 2014 (in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Photography, to accompany Melbourne Festival exhibition, Crossing Paths with Vivian Maier).

Public Lecture: ‘Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales’, at Humanities 21, Mutual Trust Building, Melbourne, 9 September 2014. Invited.

Paper: ‘“As she that…”: Displaced Affect in Troilus and Criseyde’, at New Chaucer Society Congress, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland, 17 July 2014.

Plenary: ‘Portal Medievalism’, Symposium on Medieval Temporalities, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, 30 June 2014. Invited.

Keynote: ‘The Face that Speaks’, Graduate Student Work-in-Progress Day, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland ,19 October 2013. Invited.

Panel Presentation:’“What is an emotive?: William Reddy’s The Navigation of Feeling and
(In)Direct Discourse’, at "Literary Emotion Methodologies" Study Day, The University of Melbourne, 11 October 2013. Invited.

Respondent to Panel Presentation: ‘History of Heritage: Blood, Stone and Land’, Shaping the Modern Collaboratory, Hobart, Tasmania, 10 September 2013. Invited.

Public Lecture: ‘The Talking Face’ in ‘How to Feel: The Promise of Emotion’ seminar series, in association with the exhibition ‘True Self: David Rosetzky Selected Works’, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 7 August 2013.

Panel Presentation: ‘“As she that”: Displaced Affect in Troilus and Criseyde’ at  Middle English Study Day, The University of Melbourne, 9 July 2013.

Panel Presentation (with Jessica Scott and Penelope Lee): ‘Making Faces’ for 'Sourcing Emotions in the Late Medieval and Early Modern World'  CHE conference, The University of Western Australia, 26–29 June 2013.

Conference Presentation: ‘Especially delicious and exquisitely tender: Chaucer, Coleridge, Emotion and Affect’, for 'Sourcing Emotions in the Late Medieval and Early Modern World'  CHE conference, The University of Western Australia, 26–29 June 2013.

Keynote : ‘“Exquisitely tender”: Chaucer, Coleridge, and the History of Emotions’, SAUTE (Swiss Association of University Teachers of English) conference, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 20 April 2013. Invited.

Research Seminar: ‘“As if to Say”: Faces and Emotions in Chaucer’, English Department Graduate Seminar, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom, 28 March 2013. Invited.

Research Seminar: ‘“Exquisitely tender”: Chaucer, Coleridge, and the History of Emotions’, Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom, 27 March 2013. Invited.

Public Lecture: ‘Weeping Like a Beaten Child: Figurative Language and Emotion in Chaucer and Malory’, English Department, Queen Mary University of London, UK, 25 March 2013. Invited.

Research Seminar: ‘Weeping Like a Beaten Child: Figurative Language and Emotion in Chaucer and Malory’, Medieval and Renaissance Centre, New York University, USA, 12 March 2013. Invited.

Research Seminar: ‘“Exquisitely tender”: Chaucer, Coleridge, and the History of Emotions’, Graduate Centre, City University of New York, USA, 7 March 2013. Invited.

Research Seminar: 'The Weeping Child', Medieval Round Table, University of Melbourne, 1 October 2012.

Presentation: 'Fire and the History of Emotions', North Balwyn Uniting Church, Victoria, Australia, 30 September 2012.

Panel presentation: “Fire”, BABEL conference, Boston, USA, 21 September 2012.

Conference Talk: ‘Response to symposium on Australian performance history of Bach’s St Matthew Passion’, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 15 September 2012. Invited.

Presentation: ‘CHE and Outreach’, Australian Academy of the Humanities/ British Academy Valuing the Humanities workshop, 7 September 2012. Invited.

Presentation: ‘The Great Fire of London and the History of Emotions:“a most horrid malicious bloody flame.”’. ‘Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse’’ symposium, The University of Melbourne, 1 September 2012.

Pre-Concert Talk: ‘The Aspirational Voice’,  Musica Viva – Armacord Concert, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, Australia, 31 July 2012. Invited.

Panel Presentation “The Weeping Child in Chaucer and Malory” by Prof. Stephanie Trigg at the New Chaucer Society Conference, Portland, Oregon, USA, 25 July 2012.

Keynote Paper: ‘Fire and the History of Emotions’, ‘The Sociology of Emotions and Affect’ workshop, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia, 6 July 2012.

Research seminar presentation: ‘Fire and the History of Emotions’, History Department, University of Hawaii, USA, 12 April 2012.

Conference Paper: 'Langland’s Tears: Piers Plowman and the History of Emotion', 'Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World' conference, The University of Western Australia, 911 June 2011.

Keynote: 'Langland’s Tears: Piers Plowman and the History of Emotion', University of Oxford, UK, 15 April 2011.