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Renaissance Dedicatory Epistles and History of Emotions

An online seminar hosted by The University of Western Australia. Part of the CHE Virtual Fellows Seminar Series


Image: William Shakespeare, Dedicatory Epistle from the First Folio,  1623. Wikimedia Commons

Date: Wednesday 25 May 2022
Time: 3:00pm AWST / 5:00pm AEST
Venue: Online via Zoom. Please email emotions@uwa.edu.au for connection details. 
Enquiries: emotions@uwa.edu.au

The premise of this paper is that paratexts, and mainly dedicatory epistles of early modern books, can contribute to the new knowledge on the history of emotions. During the Renaissance dedicatory epistles were deemed to be of high importance, and it was common to be printed separately and added to the book later, which allowed them to be self-reflexive, and to provide comments on, for example, the quality of printing, patronage, power and gender relations. Not rarely, dedicatory epistles reveal emotional dimension of everyday activities, health issues, or suffering, that is especially visible in female authored dedicatory epistles. The dedicatory epistles stand between the private and public and their epistolary character becomes one of the main patterns, especially in the sixteenth century being transitional period from manuscript to the printed books. The interdisciplinary approach I apply in analyzing dedicatory epistles combines literary (textual) and historical (cultural) strands, and brings together literary theory, material culture, history of ideas, gender history and history of emotions. As such, in this paper I am arguing for the importance of analysis of female  and male  authored renaissance dedicatory epistles in the context of history of emotions, by critically representing case studies from Italian sixteenth century context. 


Diana Barnes (University of New England)


Jelena Bakić is an integrated researcher within the CITCEM – the transdisciplinary research centre “Culture, Space and Memory”, at the University of Porto, and a member of the project “Men for Women. Voces Masculinas en la Querella de las Mujeres”  at the University of Sevilla. She actively collaborates with the Centre for Privacy Studies, at the University of Copenhagen. Her main research interests lie in the field of Italian Renaissance, privacy studies, history of emotions, and querelle des femmes. She won the virtual fellowship from ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions School of Humanities, The University of Western Australia. Under supervision of dr. Diana Barnes, she works on dedicatory epistles and history emotions in Renaissance, arguing for the importance of analysis of female and male authored dedicatory epistles in the context of history of emotions.