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Lectures from the Allen Room & Wertheim Study: Living in the Crypt : Mourning, Melancholy, and the Afterlife of Romeo and Juliet


April 17, 2014

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We are told right at the start of Romeo and Juliet that their love is "death mark'd" - that they will be dead by the end of the play.  But the lovers imagine themselves in states of living death so persistently before that promised end that a kind of mourning is deeply embedded in their self-awareness, in their love for each other, and in the audience's love for them.  Ultimately, the play asks its audiences to reflect on the theater itself as a sacred space in which tragic characters cycle eternally through life and death.  

Adam Rzepka received his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Chicago in 2011, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Montclair State University.  His publications include “'Rich eyes and poor hands': Theaters of Early Modern Experience,” in Shakespeare and the Senses (2010) and “Discourse ex nihilo: Lucretius in England to 1605” in Dynamic Reading: Studies in the Reception of Epicureanism (2010).  He is currently researching literary uses of early modern psychological models.