“Discerning the Devil Among Us: The Spiritual Instruction of Murder on the Early Modern Stage and Page,” a lecture by Mary Floyd-Wilson, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Term Professor and chair of the department of English and comparative literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Floyd-Wilson’s visit was hosted by the department of English and the Willson Center.
Mary Floyd-Wilson works in the field of early modern English literature, primarily drama placed in cultural, social, and intellectual contexts. Past projects have included readings of Shakespeare’s Othello, Cymbeline, Macbeth, Ben Jonson’s Masque of Blackness, and Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine in relation to the period’s understanding of ethnological differences–a discourse she identifies as “geohumoralism.”
Her work on the history of emotion helped initiate the “affective turn” in early modern literary scholarship. Subsequent research has focused on the sympathies and antipathies (as central to a history of emotion), occult knowledge, and the construction of science in the period; this material has framed readings of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, and the anonymous plays, Arden of Faversham and A Warning for Fair Women.
She is currently writing a book titled The Tempter or the Tempted: Demonic Causality on the Shakespearean Stage about the distinct influence of the Protestant devil in early modern culture (with chapters on Thomas Heywood’s A Woman Killed with Kindness, Shakespeare’s Richard III, The Tempest, Macbeth, and Hamlet, Anon, A Yorkshire Tragedy, and Ford, Dekker, and Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton).