Indira Ghose

Professor Indira Ghose is a International Partner Investigator at the Université de Fribourg in Switzerland. Her research explores the relationship between laughter and emotions in early modern culture. In particular, she is interested in how different views of laughter shape Renaissance genres such as stage comedy and jestbooks. She is currently working on the management of passions in Renaissance courtesy literature and its ramifications in early modern drama.

Indira Ghose taught English as a Foreign Language in Germany for a number of years before taking her PhD and Habilitation at the Free University of Berlin. She was Lecturer in English Literature at the Free University of Berlin from 1995 to 2006. In 2007 she was appointed to the Chair of English Literature at the University of Fribourg. Her research interests are Renaissance drama and courtesy literature.

Her work intersects with that of Chief Investigators Bob White and Peter Holbrook.

Université de Fribourg Staff Profile


Laughter and Emotions in the Early Modern World: Tracing a History of the Emotions Precisely by Examining Mechanisms (Such as Laughter) that Serve to Control the Passions and Create a Sense of Emotional Detachment



Ghose, I. Much Ado About Nothing: Language and Writing. London: The Arden Shakespeare (Bloomsbury), 2018.

Ghose, I. Shakespeare and Laughter: A Cultural History. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008. (Paperback edition 2011).

Book Chapters


Ghose, I. 'Laughter'. In A Cultural History of Comedy in the Early Modern Age, edited by A. McConnell Stott, pp. 165–88. The Cultural History Series. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

Ghose, I. ' Pride: Coriolanus'. In Shakespeare and Emotion, edited by K. Craik, pp. 264–74. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Ghose, I. 'Hamlet and Tragic Emotion'. In Hamlet and Emotions, edited by P. Megna, B. Phillips and R. S. White, pp. 17–40. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

Ghose, I. 'Sprezzatura and Cultural Capital in The Merchant of Venice'. In The Shakespearean International Yearbook 17. Special Section: Shakespeare and Value, edited by S. Haines, pp. 62–73. Gen. eds. Tom Bishop and Alexa Huang. London: Routledge, 2018.

Ghose, I. 'Money, Morals, and Manners in Renaissance Courtesy Literature.' In Economies of English, edited by M. Leer and G. Puskas, pp. 129–41. Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 33. Tuebingen: Gunter Narr, 2016.

Ghose, I. 'Shakespeare's Legacy of Storytelling.' In Shakespeare's Creative Legacies: Artists, Writers, Performers and Critics. , edited by  P. Edmondson and P. Holbrook, pp. 165–77. London: The Arden Shakespeare (Bloomsbury), 2016.

Ghose, I. 'Shakespeare and the Ethics of Laughter'. In Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics, edited by J. D. Cox and P. Gray, pp. 56–75. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Ghose, I. 'The Paradoxes of Early Modern Laughter: Laurent Joubert's Traité du Ris'. In Medieval and Early Modern Literature, Science and Medicine, edited by R. Falconer and D. Renevey, pp. 19–31. SPELL: Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 28. Tuebingen: Narr, 2013.

Ghose, I. 'Middleton and the Culture of Courtesy'. In The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton, edited by G. Taylor and T. Thomas Henley, pp. 376–89. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Journal Article

Ghose, I. ‘Jesting with Death: Hamlet in the Graveyard’. Textual Practice 24.6 (2010): 1003–18.       


Roundtable Chair: 'Shakespeare and the Passions', World Shakespeare Congress 2016, The Wolfson Hall – Shakespeare Centre, Stratford on Avon, UK, 3 August 2016. With Bob White (UWA), Lynn Enterline (Vanderbilt), Richard Meek (Hull), Katharine Craik Oxford Brookes University), Ross Knecht (Emory), Brid Phillips (UWA).

Public Lecture: 'Shakespeare and Modern Life', Customs House, Brisbane, QLD, 20 April 2016, with Sarah Kanowski, ABC Radio National.

Paper: 'The Management of Emotions in Rhetoric and Courtesy Literature', CHE Meanings Program Collaboratory 'Arts and Rhetorics of Emotion in Early Modern Europe', The University of Queensland, 25–27 November 2013.

Public Lecture: 'Shame and Honour in Messina: Much Ado About Nothing and The Culture of Courtesy', The University of Melbourne, 21 November 2013.

Workshop:'Renaissance Jest Book in the Context of the Reason/ Passion Dichotomy', The University of Queensland, 2011.

Workshop:'Women and Jestbook Literature',The University of Western Australia, Perth, 2011.

Plenary: 'Laughter and Emotions in the Early Modern World', Inaugural Conference of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions 'Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World’, UWA, 9–11 June 2011.