Talk to explore "Romeo and Juliet" against backdrop of pandemic

Publication Date
Eileen Sperry

Eileen Sperry

Eileen Sperry, a lecturer of English at Skidmore College, will speak on “Living Rich in a Dying City: Plague, Wealth and Freedom in Romeo and Juliet” on Friday, April 29, at 12:50 p.m. in Karp 105.

Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers spend most of their time sneaking around Verona: hopping walls, crashing parties, meeting in secret. It isn't until Act V that we realize that all of this happens against the backdrop of a city experiencing a bubonic plague outbreak.

Woodcut from the title page of Thomas Dekker's 1625 A Rod for Runaways depicts the impact of the bubonic plague on London

Woodcut from the title page of Thomas Dekker's 1625 A Rod for Runaways depicts the impact of the bubonic plague on London

Sperry’s talk will explore Romeo and Juliet in the context of early modern public health measures, detailing how the plague created an intimate connection between movement and wealth.

Sperry’s research centers on Shakespeare, poetics and early modern cultures of embodiment. Her work has appeared in Sixteenth Century Journal, Cambridge Quarterly, Shakespeare Bulletin, and Studies in English Literature. Her forthcoming book explores the relationship between form and mortality in the early modern English lyric. She also serves as an editor for Nursing Clio.

Lunch will be provided. The talk is sponsored jointly by English, History, Biology and Theatre & Dance.