chapter  6
15 Pages

‘Let me weep for such a feeling loss’

The emotional significance of Shakespeare’s heritage
WithSusan Broomhall

This chapter explores modern narratives of emotions, in literary, historical scholarship and heritage practice, to William Shakespeare’s own concern for heritage and to the relevant texts that can provide our evidence. It examines rhetorical, affective and social performances of emotions attached to Shakespeare, from his participation, and that of contemporaries, in literary, social, ritual and material practices such as inheritance behaviours, testamentary composition, bequests and literary production. The chapter also explores modern narratives about emotions in Shakespeare’s life – within literary and historical scholarship to heritage tourism – through extant literary archival, physical and material texts and interpretations of its meaning for his sense of heritage. It argues that these Early Modern emotions, whether expressed in dramatic and poetic works, testaments, notarial, legal or financial documentation, and as acts such as baptismal practices, money-lending or gift-giving, are highly situated displays that can only be understood in their historic social and cultural context.