‘Let me weep for such a feeling loss': The emotional significance of Shakespeare’s heritage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Abstract

On 11 August 1596, the only son of Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare, 11-year-old Hamnet, was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. There was no direct male heir to assume the coat of arms that John Shakespeare had once sought, and that his son William had, it seems, renewed in October 1596, just after Hamnet’s death. Whatever Shakespeare’s own sentiments, today the sense of loss that is represented by New Place is surely rendered more palpable by the obvious absence of built remains at the site. For Shakespeare’s last home, the proud reflection of his lifetime of achievement on the London stages and in which he died in 1616, no longer stands – demolished by a subsequent owner in 1759. The space that is left to be interpreted for modern visitors is powerfully structured through emotions about the relative strengths and weaknesses of blood, stone and land in representing Shakespeare in his own time and ours.

The purchase of New Place … is associated with great sadness. His only son, Hamnet, died in August 1596 at the age of 11. However grand the house, there was now no male heir to carry on the Shakespeare name. 1

Perhaps initially Shakespeare felt he could cope best with Hamnet’s death not by being in places associated with his son, but by moving away from them. In the year after Hamnet’s death, he took his family to a new and bigger house, New Place.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistoricising heritage and emotions
Subtitle of host publicationThe affective histories of blood, stone and land
EditorsAlicia Marchant
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter6
Pages99-113
Number of pages15
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9781315472898
ISBN (Print)9781138202825
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019

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  • Cite this

    Broomhall, S. (2019). ‘Let me weep for such a feeling loss': The emotional significance of Shakespeare’s heritage. In A. Marchant (Ed.), Historicising heritage and emotions: The affective histories of blood, stone and land (1st ed., pp. 99-113). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315472898-7