'Sympathy: Then and Now''
Speaker: Dr Richard Meek, Lecturer in English
Sympathy is a word and a concept with a rich and fascinating history. Today we understand ‘sympathy’ as a feeling of shared suffering that can bind individuals together; yet sympathy seems to be increasingly contested in the 21st century, with the ongoing migrant crisis, political division, and a resurgent nationalism across the globe. This talk will explore the emergence of the word ‘sympathy’ in the 16th century, and considers the relevance of its original development for our own understanding of sympathy, compassion, and empathy in the present. The paper examines the early appearances of the word in a range of texts from the Renaissance, including sermons, scientific treatises, and political tracts. I go on to argue that poets and playwrights – in particular William Shakespeare – played a key role in associating the words ‘sympathy’ and ‘sympathize’ with ideas of compassion, commiseration, and fellow-feeling.
Link to Dr Meek's Academic Profile:
Cost: Free Admission – All welcome but booking is required in order to guarantee a place and to enable us to ensure we have an adequately sized room booked for the session.
Enquiries: Jackie McAndrew - Monday to Weds - OpenCampus work days.
Telephone: 01482 466585
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The OpenCampus Programme is the University of Hull's open access adult lifelong learning education programme. You can attend one session or all the sessions in a series. Sessions are informal and friendly and are not traditional public lectures. We do not charge for admission to sessions so we utilise the University's normal teaching spaces when they are not required for student teaching (lecture theatres and seminar rooms). We try to provide access to one of the University Cafes as part of the experience, but cannot guarantee this. We try to time sessions to meet the needs of the majority of our learners. We like to accommodate the needs of all attendees (seen and unseen needs) by having a comfort break at each session. We may offer specialist one off sessions for which we may make a charge.
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