Donovan Sherman, "The Philosopher's Toothache: Embodied Stoicism in Early Modern English Drama" (Northwestern UP, 2021)


In Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, Leonato says, “I pray thee peace; I will be flesh and blood. / For there was never yet philosopher / That could endure the toothache patiently, / However they have writ the style of gods / And make a push at chance and sufferance.”

These lines serve as the inspiration for the title of a new book from today’s guest, Donovan Sherman. The Philosopher's Toothache: Embodied Stoicism in Early Modern English Drama, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2022. Donovan is a Professor of English at Seton Hall University; his previous book is Second Death: Theatricalities of the Soul in Shakespeare’s Drama (2016), from Edinburgh University Press. The Philosopher’s Toothache is a meditation on conceptual latticing of early modern theatre and the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism. Writers explored in the book range from James I to Shakespeare and Ben Jonson.

John Yargo recently received his PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.

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John Yargo

John Yargo is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at Boston College. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His specializations are early modern literature, the environmental humanities, and critical race studies. His dissertation explores early modern representations of environmental catastrophe, including William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko, and John Milton's Paradise Lost. He has published in Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, and Shakespeare Studies.

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