Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

9/1/2009 - 8/31/2010

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Tragedies of Satisfaction in the English Renaissance

FAIN: FA-54717-09

Heather Anne Hirschfeld
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN 37916-3801)

"Tragedies of Satisfaction" identifies a shift during the English Renaissance in the meaning of satisfaction as a theological, juridical and psychological experience. I link this shift to Reformation controversies about penitential practice and the ability of humans to satisfy etymologically, to "make enough"--for sin. English Renaissance drama, I argue, shows the shift to be the source of tragic crisis, and I demonstrate how the period's most powerful tragedies portray the devastating effects of characters' inability to define, recognize, and feel what it means to "make enough." As a philological argument that both accounts for a "problem of satisfaction" in the period's theological and legal discourses and insists on its relevance for understanding tragic presentations of sin, crime, punishment and redemption, the project participates in the commitment of the humanities to understanding earlier periods and their most compelling literary forms.

Media Coverage

The End of Satisfaction: Drama and Repentance in the Age of Shakespeare (Review)
Author(s): Kenneth Graham
Publication: Early Theatre
Date: 6/1/2016