This collection is an enquiry into compassion as an early modern emotional phenomenon, situating it within the complexity of European economic, social, cultural and religious tensions. Drawing on recent work in the history of emotions, leading scholars consider the particularities of early modern compassion, demonstrating its entanglements with diverse genres and geographies. Chapters on canonical and less familiar works explore tragedy, comedy, sermons, philosophy, treatises on consolation, medical writing, and dramatic theory, showing how early modern compassion shaped attitudes and social structures that remain central to the way we imagine our response to suffering today, and how such investigations can ultimately provoke new ways of thinking about community in contemporary Europe.
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