Current events & exhibits at Gerstein

Jan 2018:


"And There's the Humor of it": Shakespeare & the Four Humors

Dec 18-Jan 27

We are pleased to host "And There's the Humor of it": Shakespeare & the Four Humors, a six-panel travelling exhibition from the National Library of Medicine (United States).

Where: Lobby

When: during opening hours

William Shakespeare (1564–1616) created characters that are among the richest and most humanly recognizable in all of literature. Yet Shakespeare understood human personality in the terms available to his age—that of the now-discarded theory of the four bodily humours—blood, bile, melancholy, and phlegm.

These four humors were thought to define peoples’ physical and mental health, and determined their personalities, as well. “And There’s the Humor of It”: Shakespeare and the Four Humors explores the language of the four humours that bred the core passions of anger, grief, hope, and fear—the emotions conveyed so powerfully in Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies.

Other highlights include:

  • View displays featuring gorgeous period costumes,stage props, and illustrations from selected plays
  • Browse our book display on the exhibition's featured plays: Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Merchant of Venice
  • Snap a selfie at our photo booth with Skully, our resident skeleton
  • Challenge your wits on our scavenger hunt (starts Jan 2018)

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

With special thanks to the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies (University of Toronto) for their partnership and creative support (additional displays curated by Liuqingqing Yang).

With selected images reproduced from the collections of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.