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Chapter 8 - Remembering Water in Robert Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies

from Part III - Affective Memory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2023

Jonathan Baldo
Affiliation:
University of Rochester, New York
Isabel Karremann
Affiliation:
University of Zurich
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Summary

This chapter offers a new reading of Robert Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (1601), focusing on the role played by emotion in urban memory-making. Yarington’s play has sometimes been described as a conventional, homiletic domestic tragedy designed to castigate London’s unruly citizens with a frightening account of the murder of a chandler, Robert Beech, and his servant, Thomas Winchester. I argue instead that Yarington regards the urban soma as detached, or indifferent, and that this aspect of city life affects the ways real-life, traumatic events can be reexperienced in the theater. Yarington explores the Thames as a powerful but perverse channel for local memory-making, finding new and unpredictable forms of emotionalism in the dark, insalubrious places where the river meets the city. Exploring the play’s fascination with disordered personhood and prosthetic feeling, the chapter also rethinks connections between memory, affect, and theatrical culture more generally at the turn of the seventeenth century.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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