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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:

For the Administrator (maternity cover)

E: manager.imems@durham.ac.uk

T: 0191 334 6574

For the Administrative Assistant

E: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk

T: 0191 334 42974

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Dr Patrick Gray, BA (UNC), MLitt (Oxon), PhD (Yale)

Personal web page

Departmental Rep (English) in the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Assistant Professor in the Department of English Studies
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43136

(email at patrick.gray@durham.ac.uk)

I graduated from Yale in 2011 with a Ph.D. in English and Renaissance Studies, after studying at Oxford, the Sorbonne, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I arrived at Durham in 2013, after a year teaching comparative literature at the United States Military Academy at West Point, as well as a semester as a Visiting Professor at Deep Springs College, teaching Shakespeare and the history of aesthetics. While finishing my doctoral work at Yale, I taught Shakespeare, classics, and intellectual history at Providence College. At Durham, I am co-convenor of the lecture series "Introduction to Drama" and sole convenor of a seminar, "Shakespeare's History Plays," a special topic, "Shakespeare's Problem Plays," and two postgraduate seminars, "Shakespeare in Context" and "Lyric Poetry of the English Renaissance and Reformation." In the spring of 2016, I was Early Career International Research Fellow at the Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions, 1100-1800.

If you are interested in doctoral supervision, please contact me directly by email at patrick.gray@durham.ac.uk. I am currently supervising doctoral theses on Shakepeare, femininity, and forgiveness; Shakespeare's Roman plays, English history plays, and trauma theory; Shakespeare, Rabelais, and Bakhtin; the early modern reception of medieval romance; and metatheatre in early modern English drama. I am interested in projects that consider any aspect of classical reception, Continental influences, intellectual history, theology, philosophy, ethics, political theory, aesthetics, and/or literary history in early modern English literature, including poetry and prose, as well as drama. I am the Northern Bridge Subject Area Academic Contact for Drama and Theatre Studies at Durham University, and I am happy to field questions about funding for doctoral study, as well as other aspects of the application process.

My current project is a monograph: Shame and Guilt in Shakespeare. Freud defines guilt as anxiety (Angst): a fear of retaliation which limits antisocial behaviour. Shame as he sees it is fear of external punishment, and guilt is shame turned inward: intrapsychic, pre-emptive self-punishment designed to ward off temptation. As it turns out, however, this account has not stood up to scrutiny. More recent research in psychiatry has found that the key to understanding the difference between these emotions is not relative degrees of internalization but instead a tension between individual agency and social embeddedness. Shame comes from being hurt; guilt, from hurting others. Shame reflects weakness; guilt, strength, albeit strength misused. In keeping with these findings, as well as work in anthropology, classicists over the past century have revisited and revised the controversial, influential concept of a distinction between “shame culture” and “guilt culture,” abandoning earlier, now-discredited Freudian premises. Instead, they now tend to align these conceptual categories, even if at times only implicitly, with the contrast Nietzsche draws between “master” and “slave” morality. Nietzsche’s account of the rise of Christianity in his Genealogy of Morals has in effect displaced Freud’s story of the emergence of conscience in Civilization and its Discontents as the most pervasive model of a historical transition from a barbaric past to a civilized present: the moral revolution Nietzsche describes as a “slave revolt.” In Shame and Guilt in Shakespeare, I argue that Shakespeare sees the history of ethics in a similar light. Like Nietzsche, Shakespeare is fascinated by the historical rivalry between two incompatible moral paradigms, one emergent, the other obsolescent: the incremental, slow-burning paradigm shift Norbert Elias describes as “the civilizing process.” Over time, Shakespeare suggests, ambition for what he calls “honour” cedes pride of place to a rival imperative: “pity.” Characters such as Othello, Macbeth, and Hamlet can be understood as torn between these two very different value-systems. One is Roman, medieval, and aristocratic; the other, modern, Christian, and democratic.

International Collaboration

  • Early Career International Research Fellow, Australian Research Council Centre for the History of Emotions, 1100-1800

Indicators of Esteem

Research Interests

  • Shakespeare
  • Montaigne
  • Renaissance Literature
  • Classical Reception
  • Intellectual History
  • History of Emotions

Publications

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Edited Journal

Journal Article

Monograph

Presentation


Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:


International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: